Aldebaran has released NAO Next Gen, the latest version of its fully programmable humanoid robot. The new model has both hardware and software upgrades.
In the three years since the launch of the NAO, Aldebaran has sold 2,000 units, several of which competed against each other in this year's RoboCup tournament.
NAO Next Gen is claimed to be capable of a higher level of interaction, thanks to increased computing power, improved stability and higher accuracy.
It is fitted with a new on-board computer, based on the 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor and has two HD cameras that are attached to a field-programmable gate array (FPGA). This set-up allows the simultaneous reception of two video streams, increasing its speed and performance in face-and-object recognition, even under poor-lighting conditions. It now has 25 degree of freedom from its various electric motors and actuators
On the software site NAO Next Gen has a new vocal-recognition programme, Nuance. Coupled with a new functionality known as "word spotting", NOA is now is capable of isolating and recognizing a specific word within a sentence or a conversation.
It also has an improved walking algorithm and smart torque control for better co-ordination.
One, presumably unintended, effect of the promo video showing off its new features is to emphasize just how small, at 23 inches (57 centimetres) the NAO is. You also have to take into account that there is a certain amount of showmanship in the video which makes NAO look even cuter than he probably is...
Developer's who want to address challenges in artificial intelligence; social and human-robot interaction; autonomous navigation; vision and audio recognition, humanoid robot behaviors and evolutionary robotics and who have "excellent programming skills"are invited to apply to Aldebaran's Developer Program. Successful applicants will receive the latest NAO with its SDK, access to a select community website and special access to Aldebaran Robotics source code and support.