Nao is a busy robot. The little humanoid plays soccer,
helps with research, works at hospitals, performs comedy
routines, and even grooms cats. Now it's going to school,
to help children with autism and special needs.
Aldebaran Robotics recently announced the launch of
ASK Nao (Autism Solution for Kids) — a program that
will pair its little humanoid robot Nao with children with
autism. The company hopes to build on the success of
previous studies which showed that some children with
autism achieved a 30 percent increase in social interactions
and better verbal communication when a robot was in the
same room. The studies also showed that these improvements
can extend to interactions with parents and therapists.
"We have developed educational games that allow
children to work on verbal and non-verbal communication,
emotional intelligence, mimicking, and even basic academic
skills," explains Olivier Joubert, autism business unit manager
at Aldebaran."After a year of testing, gaining the positive
feedback from our beta testing schools in Britain and the
United States, and the encouragement of the autism
community, we have been driven to launch this initiative to
help children with autism throughout the world realize their
has been developed from scratch and tested.
Brockman also has sufficient motors, bearings,
mechanical fittings, wiring components, CPUs, and most of
the other electrical parts to finish four ballerina robots.
Completing the robot ballerina dance troupe will go as
• Lasercutting, hand-machining, and assembly of two
additional robot skeletons.
• Production of dance sequence videos of the robot
ballerina troupe for publication on You Tube.
The Coppelia Project is the ultimate outcome of a series
of increasingly ambitious robotics projects for Brockman. In
2005, he created a work called "Floribots" incorporating 128
robotic flowerpots. This artwork has been exhibited
internationally and started the process that led to this
project. He has also completed other major robots, including
the highly complex spatial robot "Headspace" in 2010
(with 256 motorized mirror-polished rods) and "Totem" in
2012 — the world's largest laser projecting robot at 35'
tall and weighing almost 20 tons, with 108 moving
elements and three laser projectors.
Two other ballerina related projects have also taken
place alongside the Coppelia Project. One is “Parallax
Dancer” – a 3D virtual dance installation; the other is
“Cockwork Jayne” – a simple windup version of the
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