The Games and Interactive Virtual Environments (GIVE) group has recently acquired four Nao humanoid robots (pronounced 'now') as part of its Future Technologies Initiative. The FTI is a theme of teaching and research focusing on the new frontiers of interactive technology.
The robots will be used to enhance teaching and learning to produce the next generation of technologists capable of designing and developing applications for embodied technologies: computing systems that interact with their environment through perception, reasoning and action.
The robots will also support research into interaction with embodied devices, as well as support the marketing activities of the School in outreach activities and Open Day, to inspire children and youth to consider careers in IT and broader technology areas.
The Nao robot is a 57 cm humanoid robot with 25 degrees of freedom. It has a range of inbuilt sensors, including two cameras, sonar, infrared, contact and tactile, accelerometers and gyros. Nao is capable of object recognition, face detection and recognition, text-to-speech, speech recognition, sound detection and localisation. Nao can speak 8 languages and conduct speech recognition in 7 of these, including English and Chinese.
Its on-board computer system is based on the x86 Atom processor and runs an embedded Gnu/Linux distribution based on Gentoo. Its custom robot operating system, NaoQi, supports embedded programming in C++ and Python and remote programming in C++, Python, .NET, Java and Matlab. It is also compatible with several other robot programming systems, such as Robotics Studio. It can be programmed at a high level in a GUI environment using drag-and-drop behaviours to create executable programs, or programmed bottom-up to create new behaviours and capabilities. It supports a variety of execution paradigms, including event-based, parallel and procedural models.
The GIVE group conducts teaching and research within the areas of design and development of games, animations and simulations, virtual and augmented reality environments, interactive systems and human-computer interaction. It is associated with the Information Processing and Computational Intelligence (IPCI) Lab.
For more information on the group, its teaching and/or research activities, the Nao robot or the Future Technologies Initiative, please contact Shaun Bangay or Tim Wilkin at Burwood, or Sophie McKenzie or Michael Hobbs at Waurn Ponds.