A New Way to Teach and Learn, NAO


By Brianne McCurley

From computer programming to STEM education to reaching students with autism, the NAO Robot (pronounced “now”) provides a new and innovative way to teach different types of students. The next generation NAO robot brings with it an enhanced open source platform, cutting-edge technology with face and speech recognition, and advanced fluid movement and collision avoidance capabilities. Intel Capital invested $13 million in the Next Gen robot from Aldebaran-Robotics to improve upon its inner workings, including a new on-board computer, which is based on 1.6GHz Intel™ Atom™ processor.

The fully programmable robot is easy-to-use even for someone who has no programming experience. It comes equipped with a programming environment, called Choregraphe. The intuitive graphic interface and advanced programming functions as well as preprogrammed standard behavior library meets the needs of the novice and expert users. Using Choregraphe, users can create and edit movements and interactive behaviors.

Nuance™, the vocal recognition tool on the NAO Robot, is also used on the iPhone® 4s. NAO can recognize specific words within a sentence or conversation using new functionality called “word spotting.” The NAO Robot can track, learn and recognize your face using two 920p cameras. These cameras, located on the head and near the mouth, can capture up to 30 images per second. The cameras, used with a set of algorithms, allow the robot to detect and recognize faces and shapes. NAO can locate a ball or recognize who is speaking. NAO can also dance, maintain balance, resist falling and prevent his arms from colliding with the rest of his body.

Teaching with robots is an ideal tool to reach students of all levels and engage them in different ways. The Next Gen Robot can speak up to nine languages (English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Portuguese).

Teachers can supplement their lesson plans using NAO for hands-on experiments. From the elementary to the college classroom, NAO has proven to enhance problem-solving skills, motivational impact on students, and project and time management skills. To learn more or to order the NAO Next Gen Robot, contact your Fisher Science Education sales representative or visit www.fisheredu.com/naorobot.

Classroom Discussion

  • What types of experiments can be performed using NAO Next Generation Robot?
  • How can the NAO Robot be used to help teach children with special needs such as autism?