NAO Robots Used In Treatment Of People With Special Needs (Video)

Watch Robots Play Part in Treatment for People With Special Needs on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.


"Notre Dame psychology professors use a robot built in France by Aldebaran Robotics as a tool to encourage children with autism, who may struggle just to engage in simple conversation. According to the Autism Society, 1 percent of American children ages three to 17 have an autism spectrum disorder."

Related link: PBS NewsHour

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Robots and Humans Event in San Francisco – May 21, 2012

robots and humans

I can't be everywhere at once, but there are certainly times when I wish I could. Next week, on May 21st, SWISSNEX is staging a Robots and Humans event in San Francisco I would really like to attend:

Oussama Khatib, from the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at Stanford University, presents new concepts for safe, dependable, and competent robots including design, novel sensing modalities, efficient planning and control strategies, methods for modeling human motion and skills, and other requirements. These developments are providing exciting prospects for novel clinical therapies, athletic training, and performance improvement.

Aude Billard leads the Learning Algorithms and Systems Laboratory at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). She shares recent advances in the development of robust algorithms to enable robots to learn by imitating humans as well as examples of applications for flexible manipulation and quick adaptation, such as catching an object that is just starting to fall.

Via: Robots and Humans — swissnex

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What Evolving Robots Can Teach Us About the History of Life and the Future of Technology (Video)

darwin robot

I just added John Long's new book, "Darwin's Devices" to my reading list. Long serves as the director of Vassar College's Interdisciplinary Robotics Research Laboratory and is also a professor at the same institution focusing on cognitive science and biology.

Surfing the web, I ran across some recommendations and reviews of Long's book, and the subtitle, "What Evolving Robots Can Teach Us About the History of Life and the Future of Technology", immediately caught my attention.

Long's unique approach has been described as:

… he creates robots that look and behave like extinct animals, subjects them to evolutionary pressures, lets them compete for mates and resources, and mutates their ‘genes’. In short, he lets robots play the game of life.

Here's the author being interviewed about his new book:


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NAO Robot Wizards: Franck Calzada

nao robot

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.


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University of Tokyo – JSK Lab – Amazing NAO Robot Research Projects (Video)

NAO robot japan

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.


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Aldebaran NAO and ROMEO Humanoid Robots on French TV (Video)

aldebaran romeo robot

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.


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PYGMY – Robot Rings That Enhance Communication (Video)

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The researchers at Keio University here do some surprising work. They're breaking new ground with user interfaces and communication, both between man and machines, and between people. Their projects usually involve the application of readily available technology in new and different ways.

A good example is the PYGMY robot ring project presented by Masayasu Ogata (Anzai Imai Lab) at the Interaction 2012 Conference held last week in Tokyo.


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IREX 2011: Omni-Crawler Robot (Video)

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During IREX 2011, I had the opportunity to check out the Omni-Crawler robot developed at Osaka University. Conceptually, it's pretty amazing. It can 'turn on a dime', or more correctly, it doesn't need to turn at all. The unique Omni-Ball drive enables it to move in any direction in its plane of operation, and can make those moves almost instantaneously.

The Omni-Crawler approach will definitely be a significant benefit in some applications that can be improved by it's capabilities, and some applications that were previously impossible. At the same time, the overall complexity of the design and implementation, at least in the research lab prototype stage, raises some questions about how effectively it could be commercialized. The robot has tremendous potential, if it can be production engineered to become a reliable, cost effective subsystem.


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Toyota Showcases Healthcare Partner Robots (Video)

Toyota Patient Robot

Basic assumptions, whether explicitly defined or not, often determine the eventual success, or failure, of all research and design projects. It's all too easy for an engineer to make assumptions that don't bear out in the real world. It's also very common for corporate management to dedicate huge budgets to projects built on faulty logic.

After watching, and thinking about, some of the patient assistance robotic technology showcased yesterday by Toyota, I really have to wonder what their original design assumptions were. A good example is the Toyota Patient Transfer Assist Robot.


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Art && Code 3D Conference at CMU

art robot

One of the great things about publishing a popular technology blog is that people frequently contact me about fantastic events and conferences that I would really love to attend. Unfortunately, since I happen to live and work in Japan and have finite budget, getting to many of the events is out of the question.

The most recent 'Darn I Really Want to Go" moment was when I received notification of the Art && Code 3D conference scheduled for late October at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh - a hotbed of robot development, research, and creativity:

ART && CODE: DIY 3D Sensing and Visualization (#artandcode) is a festival and conference concerned with the artistic, technical, tactical and cultural potentials of low-cost 3D scanning devices — especially, but not exclusively, including the revolutionary Microsoft Kinect sensor. This highly interdisciplinary event will bring together, for the first time, tinkerers and hackers, computational artists and designers, professional game developers, and leading researchers in the fields of computer vision, robotics and human-computer interaction. Half maker’s festival, half academic symposiumART && CODE will take place October 21-23 at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and will feature:

(Via Art && Code 3D » Presenters.)

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