Given his prowess at five-a-side football, we tend to characterize Nao as a teenage boy. But what teenager picks up dirty socks and puts them in the laundry basket?
Picking up discarded socks requires a combination of skills - visual recognition and mobility, that we humans tend to take for granted but a robot has to be programmed to do. In teenage boys it also requires a certain factor that is often lacking, a willingness to comply with the instruction - please put you socks in the laundry basket rather than leaving them on the floor.
Here we see Aldeberan's Nao robot, well known to many from the RoboCup competition ad being a really good role model for every teenager.
The important thing to note about this video isn't that this is untypical behaviour for a humanoid but that the robot is behaving autonomously and this behavior demonstrates both its vision system and its path planning abilities. The comments on the video explain that the pick up motion is 'preprocessed' as NAO cannot see the sock when close to it. The pre-set motions may actually miss the sock and so NAO checks the floor after a pickup attempt to make sure it has actually been picked up.
The video comes from French company HumaRobotices which is engaged in robotics research designed to give robots social capabilities to make human/robot interactions a more powerful and enjoyable experience. Perhaps the best demonstration of it success so far is its demonstration of Nao playing Connect 4 with a young boy.
Let's hope the Nao's sock tidying behavior is emulated by any boys he interacts with rather than encouraging them to toss socks around the room!
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