Nao the humanoid robot--who we first told you about in September--really, really wants us nerds to like him. Or, more accurately, Paris-based Aldebaran Robotics really wants us to like him. That's why the company has him pandering to us with a scene from "Star Wars."
Still, I have to admit that the 23-inch-tall, 9.5-pound Nao delivers a powerful performance--especially when it comes to his R2-D2 impression. Of course, that's kind of like Gary Busey playing a lunatic, but still...kudos. Outside of his skills as a thespian, the fully programmable Nao is also quite capable of learning and performing useful tasks for his owners.
The robot boasts 25 degrees of freedom and can grasp objects with his prehensile hands; process image and sound data; and navigate his environment using his sonars. Multimedia features include high-fi speakers, microphones, and CMOS digital cameras. Nao has been in development for years now, but a commercial version is expected sometime next year.