Astri N.

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.

The lobby of Queen Mary University

The staff waiting for the attendants at Queen Mary University of London where the event took place.

NAO Colouring sheet for kids

The UK NAO user group made some colouring sheets with NAO. It's said for kids, but I made one myself!

The voting system

Dave Snowdon explaining the voting system to the audience

Carl Clement introducing his own talk

Carl Clement (Emotion Robotics) introducing his own talk.

Voting Time

Voting Time!

Then started the several talks. The first one was held by Lola Cañamero from the University of Hertfordshire and discussed the emergence and adaptation in embodied affective interaction which she studies modelling emotions in robots.

Lola Cañamero's talk

Lola Cañamero introducing her talk.

Carl Clement introduced the uses of NAO with autistic children and explained how does it helps and why. We also had a demonstration of some apps included in the ASK NAO solution. It's wonderful to see how by integrating NAO in a global program adapted to each child, it will impact positively his life.

Carl Clement: using NAO with autistic children

Carl Clement talking about the use of NAO with autistic children.

There were plenty of talks introducing studies, developments of features and applications, solutions or uses of NAO for a specific cause. Among them, I liked how Davide La Sala (Daxx2k) customized his NAO (even if I think it's too dark. I would prefer have one in purple).

One of my favorite projects was the presentation of the De Kempel University (Netherland), turning NAO into a primary-education robot, in solutions where children are active in their learning process. For instance, it's not NAO that teach geography to the class, but the pupils that teach it to NAO. They have to make some research and enter via an application what they have learned. Then NAO tells to the class the information entered by the children. (Lucky children!)

Well there are so much to talk about, but I cannot introduce everything! So I let you enjoy some photographs that I have taken and a great video made by Ghene Snowdon. I hope it will help you to feel this great sympathetic energy that was present during this event.

Greg Baluch's Nao, named Frodo

Why is Greg Baluch's NAO wearing a ring around his neck? Well, because he’s named Frodo. 

Céline Boudier and NAO's face recognition features

Céline Boudier, from Aldebaran, presenting some new NAO’s face recognition features: here the emotions.

Mike McFarlane facing NAO

Age recognition: Mike facing NAO.

Atlas testing Nao's age recognition feature

NAO guessed Atlas’ age correctly!

Matthew Lewis introducing a solution helping children with diabetes

This cute little buddy helps children with diabetes to understand their disease. This solution was introduced by Matthew Lewis from the University of Hertfordshire.

Matthew Lewis introducing a solution helping children with diabetes

After NAO has “eaten” different plastic food, the children have to check his blood sugar level thanks to a Lego Mindstorm Brick.

Dave Snowdon introducing the NAO Community Charging Chair

Dave Snowdon introducing the NAO Community Charging Chair. Help is required, so join the project and make good work together!

Discussion panel n°1: Alexandre Mazel, Lola Cañamero, Carl Clement, Christie Nel, Mike Mc Farlane, Dave Snowdon

The first discussion panel about feelings and robotics, with Alexandre Mazel, Lola Cañamero, Carl Clement, Christie Nel, Mike McFarlane, Dave Snowdon: Why do we need to have robots with feelings? What about the feeling we have for the robots? 

Tickle-me NAO  Mike Mc Farlane's NAO and its sweet jumper

Mike Mc Farlane introducing his app: Tickle-me NAO. Mike’s Nao has a great jumper handmade by Mike’s wife! Handsome, isn’t it?

Franck Calzada introducing the hand writing recognition app

Franck Calzada from Intuitive Robots introducing his hand writing recognition app.

Second Panel disccusion: Carl Clement, Céline Boudier, Stefan Taal, Mike Mc Farlane, Michael Laurac, Franck Calzada

Second Panel discussing the future of NAO and the role of the community with Carl Clement, Céline Boudier, Stefan Taal, Mike Mc Farlane, Michael Laurac, and Franck Calzada.

Dave Snowdon's new T-shirt

At the end of the event, Dave got a gift from the UK NAO user group to thank him for organizing this great event! It was a nice customized T-shirt referring to the NAO colouring sheets he made dor the event. Good work Dave!

I don’t think that I’m speaking only for myself if I say that the global message and feeling of the weekend was that great changes are about to pop out with humanoid and emotional robotics.

Some great things could be done if everyone works together with their different profiles: developers, academics, searchers, geeks,… Everybody has something to bring to this community!

Aldebaran is here to give the tools trying to fulfill community needs as well as possible. However, it is the community role to build together solutions that will have a positive impact in a lot of lives.

Let’s shape the world guys!

 

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