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Robotics Division

Meta-Data Life Sciences is an Aldebaran authorized distributor with offices located in central Florida to service clients/institutions who would like to incorporate NAO in their teaching curriculums.


Who is NAO?

NAO is a 58-cm tall humanoid robot. He is small, cute and round. You can't help but love him! NAO is intended to be a friendly companion around the house. He moves, recognizes you, hears you and even talks to you!

Since his birth in 2006, he has been constantly evolving to please, amuse, understand and love you. In short, to one day become your friend. Aldebaran created NAO to be a true daily companion. He is the little creature who helps you be your best. His humanoid form and extreme interactivity make him really endearing and loveable.

While waiting to be ready for home use, NAO became a star in the world of education. In more than 70 countries, he is being used in computer and science classes, from primary school through to university. Thanks to NAO, students can learn programming in a fun and practical way. They can program him to walk, catch small objects and even dance!

He then conquered communities of developers, who recognized him as a powerful and incredibly expressive medium for creating applications. Imagine all the things you can do with NAO! A new world of applications has been opened, and the next step is to make him available to everyone.

 
Assist with NAO – Special Education

NAO brings special education learning into the 21st century thanks to a package solution called ASK NAO, specially developed to assist teachers with daily requirements while ... in traditional ‘one-size-fits-all’ education models. The ASK NAO solution not only engages children in new ways through personalized and Read more...

 
Teach with NAO

NAO: The educator's newest ally

From primary school and special education to research, NAO assists with the development and progress of thousands of schoolchildren, university students, and researchers. Our mission is to introduce more young people to technology, guide the most gifted toward scientific careers, and provide an educational tool that adapts to all students and materials. Read more...

 
Software and OS

Aldebaran enables both novices and experts to use its robots with ease. To do this, a Software Development Kit has been developed to support creation in the best way possible: 3D simulator, simple and intuitive programming software, C++ libraries, Python, .Net.
For optimum operation of these tools and to enable the robots to be proactive, Aldebaran has also developed its own operating system: NAOqi. Read more...

 
More about NAO

HARDWARE PLATFORM

NAO is a programmable, 58cm tall humanoid robot with the following key components:
  • Body with 25 degrees of freedom (DOF) whose key elements are electric motors and actuators
  • Sensor network: two cameras, four directional microphones, sonar rangefinder, two IR emitters and receivers, one inertial board, nine tactile sensors and eight pressure sensors
  • Various communication devices, including voice synthesizer, LED lights, and 2 high-fidelity speakers
  • Intel ATOM 1,6ghz CPU (located in the head) that runs a Linux kernel and supports Aldebaran’s proprietary middleware (NAOqi)
  • Second CPU (located in the torso)
  • 48.6-watt-hour battery that provides NAO with 1.5 or more hours of autonomy, depending on usage

MOTION

Omnidirectional walking
NAO's walking uses a simple dynamic model (linear inverse pendulum) and quadratic programming. It is stabilized using feedback from joint sensors. This makes walking robust and resistant to small disturbances, and torso oscillations in the frontal and lateral planes are absorbed. NAO can walk on a variety of floor surfaces, such as carpeted, tiled, and wooden floors. NAO can transition between these surfaces while walking.

Whole body motion
NAO's motion module is based on generalized inverse kinematics, which handles Cartesian coordinates, joint control, balance, redundancy, and task priority. This means that when asking NAO to extend its arm, it bends over because its arms and leg joints are taken into account. NAO will stop its movement to maintain balance.

Fall Manager
The Fall Manager protects NAO when it falls. Its main function is to detect when NAO's center of mass (CoM) shifts outside the support polygon. The support polygon is determined by the position of the foot or feet in contact with the ground. When a fall is detected, all motion tasks are killed and, depending on the direction, NAO's arms assume protective positioning, the CoM is lowered, and robot stiffness is reduced to zero.

VISION

NAO has two cameras and can track, learn, and recognize images and faces.

NAO sees using two 1220 p cameras, which can capture up to 30 images per second.
The first camera, located on NAO’s forehead, scans the horizon, while the second located at mouth level scans the immediate surroundings.
The software lets you recover photos and video streams of what NAO sees. But eyes are only useful if you can interpret what you see.

That’s why NAO contains a set of algorithms for detecting and recognizing faces and shapes. NAO can recognize who is talking to it or find a ball or, eventually, more complex objects.

These algorithms have been specially developed, with constant attention to using a minimum of processor resources.

Furthermore, NAO’s SDK lets you develop your own modules to interface with OpenCV (the Open Source Computer Vision library originally developed by Intel).

Since you can execute modules on NAO or transfer them to a PC connected to NAO, you can easily use the OpenCV display functions to develop and test your algorithms with image feedback.

AUDIO

NAO uses four directional microphones to detect sounds, and his voice recognition and text-to-speech capabilities allow him to communicate in 19 languages.

Sound Source Localization

One of the main purposes of humanoid robots is to interact with people. Sound localization allows a robot to identify the direction of sounds. To produce robust and useful outputs while meeting CPU and memory requirements, NAO sound source localization is based on an approach known as “Time Difference of Arrival.”

When a nearby source emits a sound, each of NAO’s four microphones receives the sound wave at slightly different times.

For example, if someone talks to NAO on its left side, the corresponding sound wave first hits the left microphones, then the front and rear microphones a few milliseconds later, and finally the right microphone.

These differences, known as interaural time difference (ITD), can then be mathematically processed to determine the location of the emitting source.

By solving the equation every time it hears a sound, NAO can determine the direction of the emitting source (azimuthal and elevation angles) from ITDs between the four microphones.

This feature is available as a NAOqi module called ALAudioSourceLocalization; it provides a C++ and Python API that allows precise interactions with a Python script or NAOqi module.

Two Choregraphe boxes that allow easy use of the feature inside a behavior are also available:

Possible applications include:
  • Human Detection, Tracking, and Recognition
  • Noisy Object Detection, Tracking, and Recognition
  • Speech Recognition in a specific direction
  • Speaker Recognition in a specific direction
  • Remote Monitoring/Security applications
  • Entertainment applications

Audio Signal Processing

In robotics, embedded processors have limited computational power, making it useful to perform some calculations remotely on a desktop computer or server.

This is especially true for audio signal processing; for example, speech recognition often takes place more efficiently, faster, and more accurately on a remote processor. Most modern smartphones process voice recognition remotely.

Users may want to use their own signal processing algorithms directly in the robot.

The NAOqi framework uses Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) to send and receive audio signals over the Internet, to a processing platform.

Sound is produced and recorded in NAO using the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA) library.

The ALAudioDevice module manages audio inputs and outputs.

Using NAO’s audio capabilities, a wide range of experiments and research can take place in the fields of communications and human-robot interaction.

For example, users can employ NAO as a communication device, interacting with NAO (talk and hear) as if it were a human being.

Signal processing is of course an interesting example. Thanks to the audio module, you can get the raw audio data from the microphones in real time and process it with your own code.

TACTILE SENSORS & SONAR RANGEFINDERS

Tactile Sensors

Besides cameras and microphones, NAO is fitted with capacitive sensors positioned on top of its head in three sections and on its hands.

You can therefore give NAO information through touch: pressing once to tell it shut down, for example, or using the sensors as a series of buttons to trigger an associated action.

The system comes with LED lights that indicate the type of contact. You can also program complex sequences.

Sonar Rangefinders

NAO is equipped with two sonar channels: two transmitters and two receivers.

They allow NAO to estimate the distances to obstacles in his environment. The detection range is 1 cm to 3 metres.

Less than 15 cm, there is no distance information; NAO only knows that an object is present.

CONNECTIVITY

Ethernet and Wi-Fi

NAO currently supports Wi-Fi (bgn) and Ethernet, which are currently the most widespread network communication protocols. In addition, infrared transceivers in his eyes allow connection to objects in the environment. NAO is compatible with the IEE 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi standard and can be used on both WPA and WEP networks, making it possible to connect him to most home and office networks. NAO's OS supports both Ethernet and Wi-Fi connections and requires no Wi-Fi setup other than entering the password.

NAO's ability to connect to networks offers a wide range of possibilities. You can pilot and program NAO using any computer on the network.

Here are a few examples of applications NAO users have already created:

  • Based on NAO's IP address, NAO can figure out its location and give you a personalized weather report.
  • Ask NAO about a topic and it connects to Wikipedia and read you the relevant entry.
  • Connect NAO to an audio stream and it plays an Internet radio station for you.

Using XMPP technology (like in the Google Chat system), you can control NAO remotely and stream video from its cameras.

OPEN SOURCE

With over five years of experience in developing embedded systems for robotics platforms, Aldebaran Robotics is sharing its cross-platform build tools, the core communication library, and other essential modules with researchers, developers, and emerging projects in humanoid robotics.

By capitalizing on Aldebaran Robotics's extensive experience, users can concentrate their efforts on creating innovative and exciting applications.

In addition, users benefit from the strong innovation that characterizes the growing NAO community.

Robotics and its associated applications are still emerging fields of research.

Collaboration in exploring future applications and ongoing exchange within our user community are essential.






TO SCHEDULE A DEMONSTRATION OR TO REQUEST A QUOTE CONTACTS US AT: (407) 442-2689 info@mdlifesciences.com

 
ASK NAO

Mission

The ASK NAO initiative, created by Aldebaran Robotics, shapes the special education classroom of tomorrow by offering teachers a user friendly robotic assistant to support their daily requirements and helping children with autism reach new levels of greatness

Background

The ASK NAO initiative was sparked after noticing how much children with autism are naturally attracted to technology. NAO’s humanoid shape allows him to be the perfect teaching tool to help open a child’s world up to humanity’s social universe.
This ideology has since been explored and confirmed through an ever-growing quantity of scientific research pioneered by some of our prestigious customers, including University of Notre Dame, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Connecticut

Autism Statistics

  • Today autism affects 1 in every 88 children and 1 in every 54 boys
  • Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability (10-17% annually) and about only 50% is explained by a better diagnosis
  • There is no medical detection or cure for autism
  • Autism costs a family an average of $60,000 a year
  • 25 hours of behavioral treatments per week are needed to be really efficient

ASK NAO Initiative Overview

Aldebaran Robotics launched the ASK NAO initiative to assist teachers in their classrooms and help children with autism in reaching new levels of greatness through robotics. The initiative was formed by customizing NAO, a humanoid robot, with a number of behavioral applications to foster the development of social and learning skills in children with special needs. To help ease the integration of NAO in to classrooms Aldebaran Robotics created a user-friendly application manager and online interface to support teachers and answer their core special education teaching needs as well as take care of day-to-day tasks.

Applications

Children with autism are unique, with their own personality, their own interests, their own world... Even if many of them are attracted by robots, they still need personalized education. NAO is an innovative aid for teachers intended to maximize the effectiveness of teaching sessions/programs through a number of specific exercises.

Aldebaran Robotics has collaborated with teaches and autism experts to develop customizable, semi-autonomous educational applications for NAO inspired by various autism approaches and models (ABA, PECS, TEACCH, DENVER, SCERTS).

The aim of these application is to help children develop social and learning skills through encouragement and rewards, making it possible to positively simulate them, give them confidence and help them move toward greater independence.

Interaction with NAO is translated through playing games. The applications include behaviors responding to a large spectrum of learning goals, such as turn taking, guessing emotions, communication, following instructions and more. These behaviors become fun with NAO and include interactive games and activities with NAO. Session with NAO are personalized and the tasks adapted to each child’s learning goals, motivators, internal states, and personality to create a perfect match.

Interface

In addition to the NAO robot, ASK NAO solution caters to the teacher with a web portal which accomplishes the core requirements of special education in the school environment. It allows teachers to effortlessly define a personalized teaching program for each child consisting in creating custom profiles, tracking individual child’s progress, and managing teaching sessions for each student. Accessible from anywhere, the interface also facilitates communication channels between the various education professionals and parents in order to gain a better understanding of each child. By strengthening the network around the child the child will have the most potential for success.

For more information, please visit: www.asknao.com

TO SCHEDULE A DEMONSTRATION OR TO REQUEST A QUOTE CONTACTS US AT:
(407) 442-2689
info@mdlifesciences.com
 
Teach with NAO

In primary school: A surprising teaching aid that makes learning fun
NAO is a fascinating teaching tool thanks to its interactive applications and intuitive interface. It captures the attention of children and promotes individual and group work. Children discover technology and enjoy learning. And, of course, you can also talk about geography, mathematics, basic concepts, and much more with NAO.

In secondary school: An interactive companion to stimulate scientific curiosity
Thanks to its many capabilities, intuitive software and dedicated hands-on exercises, NAO is the ideal platform to attract students to the sciences and teach them. With this turnkey solution, you can combine theory and practice, conduct all your lessons with motivation and enthusiasm, and travel with your students on the path to excellence.

In higher education: A powerful platform to innovate and create NAO, with its powerful and fully programmable platform (SDK provided: C++, Python, Java, .Net), effectively teaches students, creating new generations of scientific and technical experts. NAO stimulates creativity and innovation, and challenges students with problems in business and society.



TO SCHEDULE A DEMONSTRATION OR TO REQUEST A QUOTE CONTACTS US AT: (407) 442-2689 info@mdlifesciences.com
 
SDK, Simple software for developing your robot
A comprehensive, accessible software development kit
Aldebaran puts a user-friendly, documented software development tool kit at the disposal of everyone. This kit allows users at all levels to create behaviors for their robots.
It also lets you integrate the modules you developed into your robot and use them to create elaborate behaviors.
The software development kit also contains the required compilation and debugging tools.
This multiplatform development kit is compatible with many languages and robotics platforms, including Java, JavaScript, C++, Python, MATLAB, Urbi and .Net.

CHOREGRAPHE: CUSTOMIZE YOUR ROBOT AT YOUR OWN PACE

Program incredible applications by creating sequences of predefined behavior boxes or coding your own behaviors.
Entirely designed and developed by Aldebaran, Choregraphe is the programming software that lets users of our robots create and edit movements and interactive behaviours easily. Its intuitive graphical interface, library of standard behaviours, and advanced programming functions will meet the needs of beginners and experts.

Anyone can create behaviors simply by dragging and dropping actions from the library or creating customized boxes and saving them to custom libraries. Explore programming by sequential or parallel events. Regarding chronology, Choregraphe allows you to program temporal logic.
The boxes of preprogrammed behaviors are easily configurable, but you can also create your own by using the Curve Editor to edit movements or writing them in Python scripts.
The combination of these approaches opens up great programming possibilities for our robots; you can dabble in the code's complexity or bypass it as you wish.

Choregraphe accepts the Urbi and Python languages and can therefore directly call the C++ modules developed separately.
It is supplied with many detailed examples that simplify the learning process.

WEBOTS: A VIRTUAL WORLD TO SIMULATE BEHAVIORS

You can also test your program creations in a 3D environment.
Webots for NAO is the perfect simulation software to assist your lessons or educational research. Interfaced with Choregraphe, it allows you to test your programs in a virtual environment before inserting them into NAO in real conditions.
Our Webots for NAO simulator, designed by our partner Cyberbotics, allows users to test their algorithms in a virtual world governed by real physical laws.
Users can alter the simulated environment at will, inserting and editing objects of different weights and shapes.

MONITOR: SEE AND PERCEIVE LIKE YOUR ROBOT

Monitor is an application that allows you to see what your robot sees and perceives. It allows you to access accurate data from its sensors and motors easily.

With the Camera module, you can receive data from the selected camera.
You can then use the Memory module to access and analyse, in a user-friendly way, all the data provided by the sensors.
Monitor also lets you test the vision algorithms on recorded extracts.

APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT

With over 20 years of experience in software development life cycle for the regulated and non-regulated industry Meta-Data Life Sciences develops applications for our selected robot platform NAO related with special education for autism spectrum, Down syndrome, attention disorder (ADHD) and regular education applications.

In addition Meta-Data Life Sciences develops applications for data management in the medical field and provides consulting services to the medical device, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology industry related to development of standard operating procedures, regulated software applications validation (business, manufacturing, and laboratory) and training.

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