Franck Calzada

Meet a Nao developer: interview with Franck Calzada

Let's continue the tour of our community members. Today, I have met one of the NAO Developer's superstar: Franck Calzada! Can you introduce yourself to the community? My name is Franck Calzada; I’m from France and live in Nantes in West France. I am 41 year old, married and have 3 children (2, 5 and 7 years old). My kids are a very good source of inspiration when I create new behaviors for NAO. I have been part of the Developer Program and Community for almost 3 years now. And, I can say, NAO and Aldebaran’s robots have changed my life. At the beginning of 2014, I decided to create a company dedicated to the conception and development of applications for Aldebaran’s robots. Have you always been interested in robotics? I have a Master degree in computer science with a specialty in AI and signal processing. Robotics had always been a passion; I participated in many autonomous robotics contests in France as a student. I was more comfortable with the software side compared to mechatronics or electronic aspects. I wanted to make smart and useful autonomous robot applications. At this time, I definitely wanted to become an engineer in robotics, but professional opportunities brought me to work in the US in Boston for 5 years in finance; but this was only for few years before getting back to my real passion… How did you discover NAO? After re

Avatar Kids 1

My adventure with Aldebaran’s robots: Kindercity and Av@tar Kids

More than 5 000 NAOs are used through the world. But to do what? Today, I propose to present you what our robots are used for, in which projects they are involved: social, care, arts… Robotics to serve children. And we start our travel with Zurich (Switzerland), where Sandrine and Jean-Christophe Gostanian have created in 2004 a place where children can discover sciences and technologies. Kindercity is open to children from 3 years old and let them explore, interact and ‘playfully discover science’. They have 10 NAOs in their robotics section. Besides presenting the robots’ skills, they have made the “Technolino Lab” where young apprentices come during their training to learn how to program and apply what they have learned on the robots. In that way, they can develop applications and behaviors and make animations and presentations for the children. It’s an opportunity to experience on real projects and to pass what they have learned to the youngest. Kindercity encourages this knowledge transmission between generations which is completely in line with their philosophy. But this was not enough for the Gostanians who have decided to launch another project named “Avatar Kids”, in partnership with Samsung and Swisscom. Help kids stay social

Anne Snowdon vignette

Digital Girl Award: a budding NAO developer among the finalist!

The European Digital Girl of the Year is an international award, part of the Ada Awards, which is aimed at promoting the use of digital skills among girls. Among this year's finalists, there is a nine years old NAO developer! Following the footsteps of her father Dave, Anne Snowdon is interested in digital technologies. She is member of the coding club of her school and she programs thanks to drag and drop solutions such as Scracth or Choregraphe. Here is an exclusive interview of Anne and you can also have a look to her nomination video below. Hello Anne. Can you introduce yourself briefly? I'm a big fan of My Little Pony and like animals, history and robots. Right now I'm really into making things with loom bands. You are among the finalists for European Digital Girl of the year. Congratulations for that. Can you explain us what is this prize and what you did to be qualified? How do you feel about t

Nao Questions

5 questions about NAO that people could ask you…

And the answers you could give! When you like robotics and own a robot such as NAO, it can occur that you want to showcase him to your families, your friends, people you want to impress or to make envious. However, if it’s quite easy to answer technical questions as developers or geeks, it’s sometime harder to answer to general questions. So here we are to help you! We have selected 5 questions that people could ask you and thought about the answers you could give. What is the use? Besides being a cute little buddy, NAO is an autonomous, interactive robot companion which is completely programmable. Today NAO is used for education, development, and research around the world in prestigious universities, schools, and research labs for a variety of implementations including as a STEM learning tool, development and research platform, and special education teaching friend. Can it wash the dishes or clean my house? As NAO doesn’t really like water, it might not be too good at cleaning or doing the dishes. NAO has a wide range of skills and abilities and we have inventive developers creating applications to assist them with daily life tasks. However NA

vignette Carl Clement

Meet a NAO developer: interview with Carl Clement

First of all, can you introduce yourself? My name is Carl Clement, I am a professional software developer and I run a development company based in the south of England, which specialises in brand/marketing, digital media delivery and corporate websites. We have recently opened a new division, called Emotion Robotics, which will be reselling NAO and services related to Aldebaran robots. Have you always worked in the field of robotics? I have been playing with robotics development as a hobby since the late 1980s. A lot of this has been based around a self-build or kit-based hardware and programming microcontrollers. In the late 1990s I attempted to build a biped walking robot and then was involved in the beta testing of some of the early humanoid robot kits from Korea. For the last 4 years I have had my NAO and have been developing on NAO almost exclusively. Recently, with the creation of Emotion Robotics, I have been able to make robotics part of my working life as well as my hobby. How did you discover NAO? I remember reading about NAO and thinking “wow, imagine having a robot like that” but I was convinced that something as advanced as NAO would be out of my price range. Then I read a Robot Dreams’ blog post about the NAO Developer program. I think I thought about it for a whol

vignette NAOConf

UK NAOConf 2014

This last weekend was held the NAOCONF 2014 in London, the first developer organized un-conference based around NAO in the world. This event was organized by the UK NAO user group that wanted to do something different than their usual hackathons (which are by the way very nice). As Dave Snowdon had some experience of attending unconferences, he suggested this approach which is an opportunity for likeminded individuals to get together. The first evening started well with an ice-breaking moment where everyone could chat and enjoyed a drink or two. Every morning, people proposed what they would like to talk about. Everyone attending was then voting on the talks they wanted to hear. Thus, there were a few formal keynotes planned but most of the event was filled with talks proposed and prepared by the attendees. There were several formats: full talks around 1 hour, short lightning talks around 10 minutes and workshops and discussions around 1 hour. And every day ended with panel discussions on subjects such as robot emotions and feelings and what future can we imagine for NAO and the role of the community in that one.

Sandrine Tourcher and NAO

How to make your applications more intuitive?

We worked with Sandrine Tourcher to establish a list of questions one should always have in mind when designing an app for NAO or Pepper to create a better interaction between a robot and a human. As User eXperience (UX) experts, she and her team are in charge of all the usability improvements of Aldebaran’s products, from our websites and software to your interactions with the robots. It’s important to know that building a good User eXperience is a team work with interaction designers, visual designers, developers, usability experts and strategy representatives. In this multidisciplinary team, the UX expert has two roles. He is able to evaluate the experience the user is living with our products to identify issues and detect improvement levers, but also to be an actor of these changes as a usability expert. She describes their role as “user’s advocate” by representing users in the conception team to make every products and content intuitive, efficient and easy to use for them. From this perspective she brings some insight, golden rules and advices that might also be helpful to developers working on robots at home, like you. 1 - What’s the intended audience for what I’m building?


Listen to our 3rd Aldebaran Developers Podcast

Here we are again with our monthly developer podcast! What can you expect this month? We had a lot of work, as usual, but we managed to have two interviews: The first one with Franck Calzada, in order to talk about him, his projects, the way he develops, and what's happening to him with his new company The second one with Benjamin Le Cam and Thibault Depost to talk about NAO Evo, the latest version of NAO. They shared informations about the latest enhancements on the hardware of your favorite companion. We really hope you will enjoy listening to this podcast, at least as much as we enjoyed making it. Everything is not perfect, and we still hope to improve the sound in some ways, but we're pretty proud of what's happening after only three episodes.  


Meet a NAO developer : interview with Aymeric Weinbach

Continuing our series of interviews with prominent developers of the NAO community, (after Choksolis and Dave Snowdon), we're now introducing Aymeric Weinbach, aka Zecloud. Aymeric has built several useful domestic apps for NAO, and he's a very active member of the community. But we're going to let him introduce himself. Hello Aymeric, can you please introduce yourself and your robot to our readers? Hello I’m Aymeric Weinbach I work actually as a developer freelance consultant and I started my own company to work on, among other  applications for Nao For how long have you been a NAO Developer and why did you enter this Community? I’ve been a NAO developer for almost 3 years , I’ve entered this community because I’ve always wanted to put a  step into robotics. And at the start of the developer program it seems to be a great opportunity to have a discounted Nao and to use my ideas to create some great apps for NAO.


NAO UK User Group, second impact

For the second time this year, the NAO UK user group organized its meeting last Saturday to talk about the latest projects, NAO’s evolutions and the future of robotics. Seven developers gathered at the Red Lion Pub in the center of London (obviously, the British way): Dave Snowdon, Mike McFarlane, Carl Clement, Christie Nel, Joe Palmer, Davide La Sala and Alan Rushforth. From left to right: Jean-Philippe Chatain, Alan Rushforth, Carl Clement, Joe Palmer and Christie Nel. Aldebaran was also there with Emilie Nérot from the Community Management team and Jean-Philippe Chatain, former trainee at Aldebaran and NAO lover. We already knew that UK NAO Devs were part of a key user group. Considering the various events they plan to organize this year and in 2015, it is now certain that they are one of the most active NAO user group in the world. Moreover, those upcoming events should interest a wider public than usually but we cannot say more for the moment.

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