The Future is NAO

Ava Neumaier, Staff Writer

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Those who’ve been to the library or Mr. Feller’s Language and Literature class may have seen a glimpse of the future.  Students recently recently took a trip to the library and were introduced to a  mild-mannered red robot called NAO.

“NAO is part of a school initiative that’s for STEM classes, but I wanted NAO in the library so I can expose him to all of the kids,” commented DFMS librarian, Ms. Gonzalez.

NAO, pronounced like now, was developed by Aldebaran Robotics, a French company that unveiled its project in 2004. NAO even beat Sony’s robot dog Aibo in the RoboCup, a robot soccer competition! Aldebaran Robotics has said at one point that NAO is destined to be a human-sized, fully functioning robot some day!

NAO is pre-programmed with dozens of different features, many of which dazzled the library goers when Ms. Gonzales brought him out for the first time. Some of the spectacular things NAO does includes performing Tai Chi (along with peaceful music!), speak in French, answer questions, and “Explore”; where NAO can walk around his environment. Also, you can program NAO to do specific activities such as dance, learn your name, or–as most students wonder–even Dabb!  “NAO is very cool, and very smart!” said 6th grader Helen Seda.

When I asked Ms. Gonzalez about the effect NAO has on students, she commented “The kids can learn not only what kind of things they can say to him and what they can make him do.   Also, kids that are willing to delve more deeply, willing to work with me, can actually learn to program him. We can start very simply, teach him how to say “Hello, world” or walk to the ball, or something to that effect.”

So if you have time between classes, or can get a pass during lunch, make sure that you check out NAO, the first of many library robots that will potentially populate the future.

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