Nao sees Lotus the
cat so Valtrop also
sees Lotus using
his Vusix eyewear.
This method is a bit slower than the other one and
dancing does not work in real time. However, it is very
accurate for the hand motions and it feels more natural
when the operator is manipulating tools in the hands of the
Still, even though Nao’s hand is in the same relative
position as Taylor’s, its elbow could be in a completely
different pose, so it is not usable all of the time (in the case
of obstacle avoidance, for example).
Valtrop uses a Nao in simulation as he develops the
software for his uses. This is a safety precaution. “The
simulation is so that I can determine whether what I am
doing will cause Nao to fall easily, and to check whether
there is a problem with my math that would make the
robot move in a damaging way,” Valtrop asserts. Speaking
of math, the algorithms in use are inverse kinematics (linear
algebra), whatever PrimeSense (the maker of the closed
source library for OpenNI’s NITE middleware package) is
doing for the skeleton data, and a lot of trigonometry. “I
use a mix of C++, Python, and Nao’s ‘Choreograph’
12 SERVO 04.2012
Valtrop's view of
what Nao sees: Lotus
behavior editor GUI,” he comments.
As for practical applications of the technology, Valtrop’s
favorite teleoperation is using the Kinect technology to do
Ikebana (which is a form of Japanese flower arrangement).
“My favorte Nao teleoperation is when I cut a banana and
a long green onion with Nao using a knife,” Valtrop asserts.
In that same video, Valtrop also manipulates a chess board
and removes a tissue from a box. “I tried to hammer a nail
too, but that didn’t work out so well,” says Valtrop.
Valtrop has also tried to play miniature golf through the
robot, as well as miniature pool/billiards. There is no video
for those attempts. “I once watered my plants remotely,
grabbing a watering pot and bringing it to the plants. But
every time, I spilled so much water that the video didn’t
turn out well,” Valtrop explains.
Finally, Valtrop had Nao use a Geiger counter to search
his apartment for a radiation source. “The bananas I was
using for this did not provide enough noticeable
radioactivity to convince a viewing audience that I was
actually successfully finding them instead of just directing
Nao toward where I knew I had hidden them,” Valtrop
Other than avoiding apparently radioactive bananas,
what robotic challenges does this inspire you to work on? SV
Video: Taylor Valtrop demonstrates teleoperation of Nao using
Wii controllers, Kinect software, and other technologies.
Video: Taylor Valtrop using teleoperation to manipulate
the Nao to brush his cat, Lotus.
Taylor Valtrop's website.