Aldebaran Robotics Launches Educational Partnership with the Bielefeld University

Renowned Research Institute for Cognition and Robotics (CoR-Lab) chooses NAO humanoid robots for research and education
 
(April 4, 2011 – HANNOVER MESSE) Aldebaran Robotics, the world-leading European humanoid robotics company, held a press conference at the opening day of the Hannover Messe to announce its Educational Partnership Program with Bielefeld University. Professors Jochen Steil and Doctor Britta Wrede of the Research institute for Cognition and Robotics (CoR-Lab) at Bielefeld University explained how NAO humanoid robots are used in their hands-on laboratory for school student teutolab-robotik (education to complement standard school curriculum). They also presented results using NAO humanoid robots as part of the EU project HUMAVIPS (Humanoids with auditory and visual abilities in populated spaces), which aims to endow humanoid robots with audiovisual abilities including exploration, recognition, and interaction, such that they exhibit adequate behavior when dealing with a group of people.
 
The Aldebaran Robotics Educational Partnership Program was created to encourage universities and schools to provide classes with robots and educate science and engineering students by using NAO as an easy-to-use, fun and innovative teaching tool. The company’s 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.
 
For now more than ten years, Bielefeld University has provided hands-on laboratory experience to students and their teachers in order to promote science education and to enhance interactions among schools, universities and educational authorities. In cooperation with CoR-Lab and Bielefeld's center of excellence CITEC teutolab-robotik can afford to choose the eligible platform for the specific task.
 
“Intelligent technology plays an increasingly important role in our everyday life and will soon include robotic systems for assistive functions. At Bielefeld's teutolab-robotik for one afternoon students of secondary schools slip into the role of young researchers in this exciting field. NAO is ideal for students to work with a state-of-the-art robot. By teaching human-robot interaction in a playful way we increase students' interests in the highly competitive research field of learning robots, “stated apl. Prof. Dr. Jochen J. Steil, Managing Director of CoR-Lab, University Bielefeld.
 
“This decision by Bielefeld University to use NAO shows the promise for the future of our Educational Partnership Program,” said Bruno Maisonnier, the founder and CEO of the Aldebaran Robotics. “We believe that the Educational Partnership Program will play a significant role in motivating our academic partners throughout Germany.” added Bruno Maisonnier.
 
About Aldebaran Robotics
Founded in 2005 by Bruno Maisonnier, and with offices in France, China, Japan and the United States, ALDEBARAN Robotics designs, produces and commercializes autonomous humanoid robots with the aim of contributing to the well-being of humans. Today over 1100 NAOs are utilized throughout the world as research and educational platforms in 30 countries. ALDEBARAN Robotics brings together more than 100 people — including 45 engineers and PhDs — that are involved in the development and production of the robot. For further information, visit http://aldebaran-robotics.com/
 
About Bielefeld University and it's teutolab
Bielefeld University combines classical academic tradition with innovative research and teaching. It was founded as a new type of university in 1969 with the aims of re-establishing the unity between research and teaching advocated by Humboldt, and of opening up the frontiers between the disciplines. The University has succeeded in maintaining and developing essential elements of this reform concept despite a considerable increase in student numbers. Bielefeld University has attained an outstanding position among national and international academic institutions on the strength of its research achievements and unique courses of studies, its technology transfer and further education programs.
For now more than ten years, teutolab has provided hands-on laboratory experience to school students and their teachers at Bielefeld University. As one of the first such initiatives in Germany, teutolab has been founded with a program in chemistry in 1999. It thereby started a Bielefeld tradition in bridging the university's expertise and school teaching with the goal to reinforce students' interests in natural science.
 
Meanwhile, teutolab-chemie has expanded and includes chemistry activities at schools worldwide in a cooperative international teutolab-network, as well as similar laboratories in physics and mathematics. Since June 2009, the fourth laboratory teutolab-robotik has been active. It has now advanced to the point that two workshops are offered for two differently aged groups of secondary school students, who can immerse into the fantastical world of learning robots and robot learning. In the Workshop “Das Lernlabor” for the senior grades the participants are within touching distance with the humanoid robot NAO. Using the example of a game strategy, students find out according to which principle robots can learn, program learning strategies with graphical interfaces and test these learning paradigms on NAO.
 
About the EU-project HUMAVIPS - Humanoids with auditory and visual abilities in populated spaces Natural human-robot interaction requires the coordinated interplay of perceptual, communicative, and motor processes as well as advanced interaction skills. The HUMAVIPS project aims to advance the state-of-the-art such that autonomous robots exhibit adequate behavior when dealing with a group of people. Research and technological developments emphasize the role played by multi-modal perception within principled models of human-robot interaction and of humanoid behavior. A humanoid-centered system architecture allows eased integration and fusion of auditory and visual skills on humanoid robots such as NAO.
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