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Thursday, March 10, 2011

French Humanoid Fights Autism and Loves Academia

At the University of Notre Dame, IN an interdisciplinary research team led by psychology professor Joshua Diehl is studying the effectiveness of robots in behavior-based communication therapies for children with autism, in an effort to break through barriers and discover effective treatment plans. The therapy is based on interaction with humanoid NAO from French Aldebaran

Credit: Aldebaran
In France the 10 million Euro Romeo project led by the French Cap Digital business cluster and funded by the Ile-de-France region, the General Directorate for Competitiveness, Industry and Services (DGCIS ex DGE) and the City of Paris, aims to develop a humanoid robot that can act as a comprehensive assistant for persons suffering from loss of autonomy. The first humanoid robot prototype design was published by IEEE Spectrum in December 2010. In autumn 2011 - a few months before the end of the project - a second prototype will be delivered to be used and tested by actual users suffering from loss of autonomy. They will be selected amongst the patients of the Vision Institute. On the ground of Romeo’s project learnings, Aldebaran intends to develop a product which could be on the market by 2015.
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Founded in 2005, Aldebaran Robotics is headquartered in Paris, France and has the ambitious goal of offering humanoid robots to the general public. The  first product, NAO, is a 58-cm tall humanoid robot with the ability to see, hear, speak, feel and communicate with not only the user, but other NAO robots and is already a world-famous star in the academic and humanoid robotics market. Since 2008, Aldebaran Robotics has been providing NAO robots to 200 of the most prestigious universities in the world, including Stanford Research Institute, Harvard, Supelec, Ecole des  Arts et Metiers, KAIST in Korea and  Tsukuba University in Japan. Aldebaran Robotics brings together more than 100 persons—including 45 engineers and PhDs—that are involved in the development and production of the robot. The company currently operates subsidiaries in Shanghai and Boston.

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