Aldebaran Robotics launches a new generation of its humanoid robot

Aldebaran Robotics has released the latest version of its NAO robot — NAO Next Gen – an autonomous, programmable humanoid robot. Headquartered in Paris, this French startup company has already had success with earlier models. The first prototype was developed in 2005, with a finalised version being used in 2008 for that year’s Robot Soccer World Cup, an international robotics competition. Since then, over 2,000 units have been sold worldwide.

This latest generation has numerous upgrades, thanks to increased computing power, which includes a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom processor. It now features a higher level of interaction, more accuracy, faster and more reliable “Nuance” voice recognition, smart torque control, improved walking algorithms and measures to cut down on unwanted collisions.

When listening to human speech, it has a new functionality called “word spotting”, which is capable of isolating and interpreting a specific word within a sentence or conversation. It also has two HD cameras, attached to a field-programmable gate array (FPGA). This setup allows simultaneous reception of two video streams, significantly increasing speed and performance in face-and-object recognition, even under poor lighting conditions.

As before, the $15,000 robot is aimed squarely at researchers, developers and universities. However, a version for use by the general public is to be launched in late 2012.

For more information, including a video, see the official website:

NAO Next Gen. Credit: Aldebaran Robotics


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