Tuesday, March 6, 2018

My Five Most Amazing Moments with A Robot

As I continue to engage in the ‘real world’ of robot use cases…oh? what do I mean ‘real world’? – I mean the actual things that are truly being done, really happening…not theory, not speculations…real stuff, happening every day. The robot I spend most of my time with is the NAO robot from Softbank Robotics.

Amazing Moment #1: A Child in a hospital pediatric ward struggling with muscular dystrophy. This child refused to leave his wheel chair for weeks. But once having interacted with NAO and having been invited by NAO to get out of his wheel chair to sit with NAO on the floor and have his picture taken with NAO – he did just that! A stunningly powerful moment.

Amazing Moment #2: A child with autism, unfocused and erratic was introduced and engaged with NAO. Calm, focus, joy and delight resulted. Because NAO is available in his public library he now visits once week and is studiously progressing in learning about how to program NAO and will soon test his work out at the library. Transformative.

Amazing Moment #3: An eight-year-old, via his parents, contacted me and wanted to share the teaching applications he had developed for his school. It was some of the best quality work I had seen. Amazing yes, at eight years old!

Amazing Moment #4: I was with NAO when he walked out on a stage in front of 7,000 people. Yes, seven-thousand and delivered a show stopping performance. I was very jealous not because NAO was the star but because there was no nervousness, no hesitation, no stage fright on NAO’s part. I seem to recall that he looked at me and conveyed…” Come on we can do this!” Amazing!

Amazing Moment #5: While visiting a Skilled Nursing Facility for the elderly. NAO was used to play a few games and lead a group exercise session. The rejuvenated animation of the elders was overly evident. The proof was that when the session was over, they clamored to want to know when NAO was returning, and could they sit and engage with him (I say him… but who knows…) for a while longer! Hold his hand and take a walk with him. Exciting moments in an otherwise drearily routine day.

The point is, putting aside all the talk and the arguments about robots and what our robot future will be like, we can lose sight that when you are in the real world amazingly wonderful things are happening.

There is a reason that NAO remains the most popular humanoid robot. Above are just a few examples of why.

Mike Radice is Chairman of the Technology Advisory for ChartaCloud |ROBOTTECA See: www.robotteca.com and https://robotteca.blogspot.com/ for more information and articles.

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