Shaping the world with Céline, head of NAOLabs Studio

Céline Boudier is a fixture at Aldebaran, who has known the company through several of its growth stages, and has many insightful views on NAO and robotics. We were lucky enough to steal a bit of her time to interview her. I understand you've been working at Aldebaran for a few years. Can you tell us a bit about your history in the company? Indeed I've been working at Aldebaran for more than five years! A "lustrum" then I wanted to join a fun, innovative Parisian Robotics company after finishing my studies. Tadaa! Aldebaran was here to welcome me in the then "AppU" team that older Aldebaranians and NAO testers might remember! I've been doing applications and Choregraphe boxes for a lot of different purposes. Then a few years ago I was asked to create applications for children with autism as the ASK NAO project was being created!

So what's your job now? Now I manage the NAOLabs Studio, the best team ever! (Alexandra, Alexandre, Jessica, Laurent, Salah, Valentin, thank you


Showcase your NAO at Maker Faire

  On June 21 & 22, Paris will host its first Maker Faire. And you, as a NAO developer, are invited! Maker Faires are held around the world to gather makers, people who are willing and able to create (mostly) physical objects or to hack hardware in the spirit of DIY (Do It Yourself)... It’s something you should understand pretty well as a NAO developer. So Maker Faire Paris is welcoming NAO developers wishing to come and showcase their robots and what they’re doing with them, as already done during several Maker Faires by Carlos Asmat, one of our most active developers. Carlos won’t be able to attend this particular event, though he’s telling us great things about those he already attended. If like Carlos you’re not in Paris in June, you may also have a look at the upcoming Maker Faires in your region.

If you’re interested in attending one of these events, please contact the Aldebaran commmunity team !


How to make your NAO apps magical

Julien Gorrias is emotion director at Aldebaran, which means he’s in charge of making us all fall in love with NAO. He’s spending a lot of time making sure that NAO and Romeo will make an emotional connection with people. From the way a robot looks to a way he acts, we have to think about that connection if we want him to be more than a machine for the people who will welcome a robot into their home. As essential as it is, it can all seem a bit abstract, especially when you’re working on an app and just trying to make it work. But if we’re to build an emotional robot, “it just works” is not enough. We’ve talked with Julien to find out more about emotional design and how it applies to robots, and came up with these four questions you should ponder when building an app. Finding answers to those questions should help you make your app a little bit more than just useful. Is my app doing something that could only be done with a robot? A humanoid robot is not a laptop. It’s not a smartphone either. He may be of less use if you’re trying to accomplish some specific productive tasks. Don’t try to make him do something that another pl


Listen to our 2nd Aldebaran Developers Podcast

Here it is, the second monthly Aldebaran Developers Podcast! We've heard your feedback since last month and have integrated a lot more content : we've got guests for fascinating interviews, sound effects that will feel like candy for your ears and an overall more dynamic and interesting experience for you.  We're talking a lot about kids this month, as we've invited Olivier & Jessica from Aldebaran to talk about the ASK NAO program, and Daniel De Luca, who will tell us about the awesome Devoxx4kids workshops he's been running with NAOs. So once again, this is a work in progress, we're getting closer to the amazing Dolby THX exeperience we plan on offering you, and your feedback to help us getting there will be greatly appreciated!


Shaping the world with Nicolas, production manager at Aldebaran

Who are you and what’s your job at Aldebaran? My name is Nicolas Delatre and I’m production manager at Aldebaran. That means I'm in charge of the NAO production line with my team of a dozen people. On top of working with our production partners, my team in Paris is in charge of checking each robot one by one then hand them over to the quality team where they are tested from an end user point of view.  

Basically we check the hardware and they check the software before the robots are sent to the customer. There’s also another part of the team who’s in charge of assembling Romeo, our humanoid research robot, intended to deepen research on assistance for those who have lost autonomy. Tell us about your story at Aldebaran. I joined in march 2008. We were around 35 people in the company back then, and it was supposed to just be a four month internship at the end of my mechatronics licence. Then I worked one month more before I was supposed to enter engineering school. 

I started on the production line, as a technician, then as I was doing a good job I was asked to fix defective robots. Then I created our customer care team


Participate in a NAO webinar

NAO is not just the friendliest robot around : he's also an ever evolving platform and a fully interactive one, so it can be daunting to apprehend all that you can do with him. With that in mind, we've launched a series of webinars focusing on various features and capabilities of NAO, and how you can use them in a teaching environment, or for research. Several webinars on subjects varying from the Python SDK to special education are already availaible, and you can also subscribe to future ones here.


Meet a NAO developer : interview with Dave Snowdon

After last month's Choksolis interview, we decided to meet another one of the most active members of the developer program. Dave was kind enough to answer our questions. He's passionate about robotics and a brilliant developer working on several really interesting projects with NAO.  Hi Dave. Can you please introduce yourself to our readers?

I'm Dave Snowdon and I've been on the NAO developer program since August 2011. My career started in the field of multi-user Virtual Reality and I've since worked in academic and industrial research organisations as well as large and small software houses. I am currently a staff engineer at VMware's R&D office in London. A minor claim to fame is that I designed and wrote the software to implement Pete Townshend's (of the WHO) Lifehouse Method which generated about 10,000 unique pieces of music during the time it was online. You can find more links to my various online profiles here and my personal website davesnowdon.com

My NAO is named "Robbie" after the robot in Forbidden Planet and also be


NAO's gaze

The mighty Angelica Lim, also known around here as PetiteGeek, has written a fascinating article over at spectrum.ieee.org. Based on Sean Andrist's work at the Univeristy of Wisconsin Madison, who worked on the gaze, and developed a model to find the sweet spot between an uncomfortable continuous gaze and a too randomly looking away robot.  To know more about this research, read Angelica's article and then check out Andrist's paper and code over at this adress. This is a great way to make NAO more friendly and human-like. What other amelioration to his social skills would you like to see?


Robotic Music !

Here's a little bit of fun for the weekend : a robotic music Spotify playlist! Selected carefully by the Community team, these are either songs about robots (from Kraftwerk's "We are the robots" to Flight Of The Conchords parodic killer "robots"), or just "robotic sounding" music. The best news, though, is that this is a collaborative playlist : don't hesitate to add your own favorite robotic tunes, so we can all dance the robot at home.     Do you think we forgot any essential robotic song ?


Listen to the first Aldebaran Developers Podcast

Wanna know what our Community team has been up to last week? Wish to learn about the latest amazing projects of the Developer community? Want to hear NAO introduce and gently mock a bunch of puny humans? Then all you need to do is press play!  

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