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NAO the robot visits Manchester Health Academy


On Monday 22nd April, all year 7s from Manchester Health Academy involved in a workshop were joined by two highly unusual vistors.

During the one hour workshop, the year 7 students were introduced to the robots NAO 1 and NAO 7. NAO, who measures 58cm tall and weighs 4.3kg was soon instructed to start up, and delivered a brief presentation to the group about itself, followed by a mimicked dance to Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' video.  The NAO Robots had been pre-programmed to carry out all these actions on command by voice recognition.

Whilst the NAO rested, the students used the theory learnt about the Robot and applied it to a LEGO Mindstorms Robot, making the links between the two. Students made use of the Macbook Air to complete some basic programming and then raced their robots around a race track taking part in heats of racing until there was a winner in each group.

The workshops were aimed at levels 3-5 in ICT, this was in preparation for the delivery of the new KS3 Computing curriculum which is due to be delivered in September 2013 at the Health Academy.

The session ended with another dance from NAO this time to the hit video 'Gangnam Style'.

The NAO has been developed by Aldebaran Robotics in Paris - the founder Bruno Maisonnier first sketched the NAO on paper originally with the vision to develop a humanoid robot for Health Care. It seemed appropriate to incorporate the Academy's specialism into a new curriculum soon to be delivered in their lessons.

When NAO was finally developed it was used for many other projects such as Robot Soccer World Cup (Robocup) Standard Platform League (SPL), an international robotics competition. Later it was developed for universities and laboratories for research and education purposes.

The year 7s had a brilliant day and went away with some basic skills in Computer Programming.  John has offered a free trial of the NAO for a month later this year so NOA is due to return to the Health Academy - Watch this space!