I mentioned in a post a few days ago that Jay Jay Napalan, a member of the Aldebaran NAO Robot Developers Program had the chance (and the guts) to compete at RoboGames 2012 in several different categories.
Some of the categories he picked were natural choices for the NAO humanoid robot, especially those that required autonomous or AI capabilities. But one of the categories really surprised me.
Napalan entered J2 in the middle-weight humanoid kung fu category where it would potentially go head to head with bruisers like King Kizer, Wimbleton, and KiaNaut. NAO has a well deserved reputation for being more of a 'lover' than a 'fighter', and it would be a shame to see the robots ascetically beautiful white plastic body and face scratched and bruised by the punishment that a middle-weight champion can dish out.
I've been waiting for someone to post a video of J2's RoboGames 2012 matches since somehow I missed the opportunity to record it. But, since a match video hasn't appeared yet, the best I can offer is the J2 practice session video below.
Aldebaran just uploaded the Spring 2012 NAO Developer Days overview video providing an excellent overview of the program, participants, and the 24 hour codathon competition.
During the competition participants had just 24 hours to develop a new application for the NAO humanoid robot, then present it to the judges, with the winner receiving a brand new Next-Gen NAO robot.
Bruno Maisonnier, the founder of Aldebaran Robotics, has a compelling vision of the future - a future that includes humanoid robots that will improve and enhance the quality of life for all. At the TEDxConcorde conference this past January, Bruno and a host of NAO robots took the stage to deliver his vision in an entrancing and surprisingly striking fashion.
Although the video of his presentation below is in French, you won't need to understand any French at all to appreciate the robots performing during the first few minutes.
I had the great opportunity to meet many of the Aldebaran NAO Robot Development Program participants in Paris last weekend when I was asked to be on the jury rating all of the projects they submitted during the codathon. The work that they're doing is innovative and often surprising, so it would be hard to single out anyone's project as being outstanding or extremely unique. Nevertheless, there were some projects that I want to talk about in upcoming posts because I feel they may interest and hopefully inspire my readers.
A good example is "Play With Red Ball", the Spring 2012 NAO Developer Days project developed by Franck Calzada. The concept seems simple enough - just have your humanoid robot bend over, reach out with its hand, and pickup a red ball. However, in the real world that sequence that you and I as human beings take for granted, is extremely complex.
’NAO Robot Wizards: Franck Calzada’ continues
I have to admit that when I attended the University of Tokyo/Aldebaran Robotics press conference a while back I was pretty skeptical. Bringing French humanoid robots to Japan, especially introducing them into one of the leading Japanese research organizations, was a little like "carrying coals to Newcastle." What would the Japanese do with the cute NAO robots that they couldn't do with domestic humanoids?
It turns out, as you can see from the video below, I didn't have to worry. Researchers at the JSK Lab have been able to accomplish some truly amazing work, including somethings that are totally beyond my limited imagination.
The Aldebaran NAO and ROMEO humanoid robots were featured on television, including interviews with some of the key Aldebaran management team.
For those already familiar with the NAO robot, the program doesn't really present anything new or exciting. It does, however, include some good close-up views of ROMEO - the company's life-sized/person-sized humanoid development project.