Nao (robot)

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Robot Nao.
Manufacturer Aldebaran Robotics
Country France
Year of creation 2008 (first public version)
Type Humanoid robot
Purpose Research and education
Nao robots in a Webots RoboCup soccer simulation.
Presentation of a Nao robot at the Fêtons Linux in Geneva, Switzerland, in October 2011.

Nao (pronounced now) is an autonomous, programmable humanoid robot developed by Aldebaran Robotics, a French robotics company headquartered in Paris. The robot's development began with the launch of Project Nao in 2004. On 15 August 2007, Nao replaced Sony's robot dog Aibo as the robot used in the RoboCup Standard Platform League (SPL), an international robot soccer competition.[1] The Nao was used in RoboCup 2008 and 2009, and the NaoV3R was chosen as the platform for the SPL at RoboCup 2010.[2]

Numerous versions of the robot have been released since 2008. The Nao Academics Edition was developed for universities and laboratories for research and education purposes. It was released to institutions in 2008, and was made publicly available by 2011. The robot has since entered use in numerous academic institutions worldwide, including Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory of Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad,[3] the University of Tokyo,[4] India's IIT Kanpur[5] and Saudi Arabia's King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals. In December 2011, Aldebaran Robotics released the Nao Next Gen, featuring enhanced software, a more powerful CPU and HD cameras and more upgrades have continued since.[6]


Six prototypes of Nao were designed between 2005 and 2007. In March 2008, the first production version of the robot, the Nao Robocup Edition, was released to the contestants of that year's Robocup.[7] The Nao Academics Edition was released to universities, education institutes and research laboratories in late 2008.

In the summer of 2010, Nao made global headlines with a synchronized dance routine at the Shanghai Expo in China.[8] In October 2010, the University of Tokyo purchased 30 Nao robots for their Nakamura Lab, with hopes of developing the robots into active lab assistants.[4] In December 2010, a Nao robot was demonstrated doing a stand-up comedy routine,[9] and a new version of the robot was released, featuring sculpted arms and improved motors. In May 2011, Aldebaran announced that it would release Nao's controlling source code to the public as open source software.[10] In June 2011, Aldebaran raised US$13 million in a round of venture funding led by Intel Capital.[11]

In December 2011, the Nao Next Gen, featuring hardware and software enhancements such as HD cameras, improved robustness, anti-collision systems and a faster walking speed.[6] Since 2011, over 200 academic institutions worldwide have made use of the robot.[4][5][12] In 2012, donated Nao robots were used to teach autistic children in a UK school; some of the children found the childlike, expressive robots more relatable than human beings.[13]


Nao is increasingly being used in the United Kingdom due to recent changes to the education system relating to the teaching of the core STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects. As part of this, many schools are using Nao as a pathway to introduce robotics to schoolchildren within the current curriculum to highlight the importance robotics will play in the future as well as showing them another potential career path.[14] Nao has also been utilised to provide specialist education support for children with Autism through the Autism Solution for Kids (ASK Nao) programme.[15]


The various versions of the Nao robotics platform feature either 14, 21 or 25 degrees of freedom (DoF). A specialised model with 21 DoF and no actuated hands was created for the Robocup competition. All Nao Academics versions feature an inertial measurement unit with accelerometer, gyrometer and four ultrasonic sensors that provide Nao with stability and positioning within space. The legged versions included eight force-sensing resistors and two bumpers.

The Nao robot also features an onboard Linux-powered multimedia system, including four microphones (for voice recognition and sound localization), two speakers (for text-to-speech synthesis) and two HD cameras (for computer vision, including facial and shape recognition). The robot comes with a software suite that includes a graphical programming tool ("Choregraphe"),[16] simulation software and a software developer's kit. Nao is also compatible with the Microsoft Robotics Studio, Cyberbotics Webots, and the Gostai Urbi Studio.[17] An upgraded version of the robot known as Nao Evolution, featuring enhanced multilingual speech synthesis, improved shape and facial detection and recognition using new algorithms and improved sound source location using 4 directional microphones, was released on 20 June 2014.[18]


Nao Next Gen (2011)
Height 58 centimetres (23 in)
Weight 4.3 kilograms (9.5 lb)
Autonomy 60 minutes (active use), 90 minutes (normal use)
Degrees of freedom 21 to 25
CPU Intel Atom @ 1.6 GHz
Built-in OS Linux
Compatible OS Windows, Mac OS, Linux
Programming languages C++, Python, Java, MATLAB, Urbi, C, .Net
Vision Two HD 1280x960 cameras
Connectivity Ethernet, Wi-Fi

See also[edit]

  • Educational robotics
  • Atlas (robot), a human-sized bipedal robot designed for military search and rescue operations
  • ASIMO, a humanoid "mobile assistant" robot
  • Kirobo, a Japanese miniature robot astronaut
  • QRIO, a cancelled humanoid entertainment robot
  • REEM, a wheeled humanoid guide robot
  • Pepper, a personal robot by Aldebaran Robotics and SoftBank Mobile designed to read emotions


  1. ^ "Nao robot replaces AIBO in RoboCup Standard Platform League". Engadget. 16 August 2007. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
  2. ^ "UK robots prepare for world cup". BBC. 25 October 2010. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c "Le robot français Nao fait ses classes à l'Université de Tokyo" (in French). L'Express. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
  5. ^ a b "Robot that walks, talks, emotes like humans...'Nao'". Times of India. 4 February 2013. Retrieved 8 February 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Aldebaran Robotics announces Nao Next Gen humanoid robot". Engadget. 10 December 2011. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
  7. ^ "Robocup Standard Platform League". Retrieved 4 October 2012.
  8. ^ "Robotic mascot entertains at Shanghai Expo". 21 June 2010. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
  9. ^ "Heather Knight: Silicon-based comedy". TED. December 2010. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
  10. ^ "Aldebaran to Open Source NAO's code". Nao Developer. 13 May 2011. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
  11. ^ "Aldebaran raises $13 million in round led by Intel Capital". Nao Developer. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
  12. ^ "Nao, le robot que les universités s'arrachent" (in French). digiSchool média. 4 February 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2013. 
  13. ^ "Robots in the classroom help autistic children learn". BBC. 8 November 2012. Retrieved 9 November 2012. 
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ Choregraphe User Guide.
  17. ^ "NAO NEXT Gen H25 Datasheet". Aldebaran Robotics. December 2011. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
  18. ^ "Unveiling of NAO Evolution: a stronger robot and a more comprehensive operating system". 

External links[edit]