Nao (pronounced "na-oh") is an autonomous, programmable and medium-sized humanoid robot, developed by the French company Aldebaran Robotics, a start-up headquartered in Paris.
Although the Nao Academics Edition is already available for universities and laboratories for research and education purposes, it will not be available to the general public until 2011.
On August 15, 2007, Nao replaced the robot dog Aibo by Sony as the robot used in the Robocup ("Robot Soccer World Cup") Standard Platform League (SPL), an international robotics competition. The Nao was used in RoboCup 2008 and 2009, and the NaoV3R was chosen as the platform for the SPL at RoboCup 2010.
Six prototypes of Nao were designed:
* from January 2005 to March 2006 : AL-01, AL-02 and al.-03
* from September 2005 to July 2006 : AL-04
* from June 2006 to June 2007 : AL-05.a
* from May 2007 to December 2007 : AL-05.b
On March 2008, a first finalized version (Nao Robocup Edition) was released to the Robocup's contestants.
In late 2008, the Nao Academics Edition was released to the academics and education market (universities and companies).
A general public version is to be launched 2011/2012
Robocup Edition has 21 degrees of freedom (DOF) while the Academics Edition has 25 DOF since it is built with two hands with gripping abilities. The figure of 25 for DOF is misleading as each leg has a "HipYawPitch" axis of movement that amounts to 1 DOF for the pelvis.
All versions feature an Inertial measurement unit and 4 Ultrasonic sensors that provide stability and positioning within space to Nao.
Nao also features a powerful multimedia system (4 microphones, 2 speakers, 2 CMOS cameras) for text-to-speech synthesis, sound localization or facial and shape recognition amongst various other abilities.
The package includes a dedicated programming software called, Aldebaran Choregraphe and Nao is also compatible with Microsoft Robotics Studio, Cyberbotics Webots and Gostai Urbi Studio..
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