Saturday, August 02, 2008

Terminator 0.0.1 (alpha)

NAO robot

The French start up Aldebaran-Robotics based in Paris has high hopes for its humanoid robot called NAO. The device is 57 cm high and weighs 4.5 kilograms (about the size of a 6 month old baby) and you may be about to see a lot more of it. The company has sent a simplified version to 16 teams playing in the Robocup humanoid football league this year.

NAO looks an impressive device, judging by the design, which the company has posted on the arXiv today. And others clearly agree. Earlier this year, the company picked up Euros 5 million in venture capital funding to help commercialise the device. The target market is university research labs involved in developing the next generation of software and hardware for robotics.

That’s a smart move because it could make NAO a de facto standard.

NAO doesn’t come cheap, however. A single robot will set you back Euros 10K but that is significantly cheaper than most other humanoids. Fujitsu’s HOAP costs $50K, for instance, and Honda hasn’t been able to put price on Asimo.

The company hopes that economies of scale will bring down the price as production scales up. Eventually it hopes to sell NAO to the public for Euros 4K each.

Better start saving.

Ref: The NAO Humanoid: A Combination of Performance and Affordability

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