Please can I have a Nao now?

While wandering through the many trade stands at Online Educa Berlin earlier this month, I was drawn to this little fella:

As I approached him, he flashed his eyes at me, stood up, and asked if I wanted to see his Michael Jackson dance. Well that was it – I fell in love…

Meet the Nao Robot, the coolest little humanoid around, and No.1 on my wish list. He’s actually the standard platform robot used in the Robocup international robotic soccer competition – but not only is he an accomplished footballer, he’s also pretty well versed in the art of Tai Chi:

Nao’s being touted as “the ideal partner for research and teaching in the field of robotics and artificial intelligence”, but what really interests me in terms of education is the potential for engaging learners in OOP – particularly those who favour a more kinesthetic learning style. The Nao Robot is fully programmable with a 25 degree motion range. It can grab objects, process sound and image data and navigate using sonars and can be controlled through the Choregraphe behaviour editor, by programming C++ modules (or Python or Urbi). It’s pretty spendy (probably retailing at around 10,000 euros) so not sure how realistic it is to expect to be able to use it in the classroom, but one can hope…

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