The French company Aldebaran Robotics just released their next generation NAO mini-humanoid robot, which boasts a bunch of new features that will make it quite formidable. The compact ‘bot stands 1’ 10″ high, and “sees” using high-resolution cameras. It can understand both visual and audio input, and communicates in eight different languages.
Apparently, NAO can also walk and learn to handle different surfaces via its built-in algorithms. The new model has a 1.6 GHz Intel processor (located in its head) and a secondary CPU in its torso. It has four microphones to track sounds and runs speech recognition software as well. Its two 30fps HD cameras will scan its environment for obstacles and also recognize faces and shapes. In addition, the robot’s movements have also been optimized so that it can avoid collisions. There are also capacitive sensors on the top of the robot’s head, allowing users to provide stimuli for Nao to react to.
NAO has prehensile hands, allowing it to grasp objects. It can walk on a variety of different surfaces and it has a ‘fall manager’, which protects the bot when it does fall to the ground. It supports Wi-Fi and is completely programmable. NAO’s built in 27.6 watt-hour battery should keep it running for as much as 90 minutes on a charge.
There’s no word on how much the latest NAO will sell for, but the last-gen model sold for a whopping $15,999 (USD) over at RobotShop. This isn’t surprising given the amount of technology in this little robot – it’s clearly not a toy. At this point NAO is only available for educational and research customers, but there are plans to make it available to (very wealthy) consumers in 2012.