There are different ways to get a Nao. The Nao Developer Program is one of them.
Other ways is to get it for research in Universities, or create a team for the RoboCup Standard League to compete at Robot Soccer against other Naos. But if you just want your personal robot at home, this program may be for you.
If you like hobby robots like Bioloid or Lego Mindstorm, because the hardware design is easy (you just combine some special parts), but want a robot that can do more, Nao maybe the right choice. It has lots of sensors, from color cameras to sonar and a powerful CPU (for a robot) to process it.
The goal is to recruit passionate people who would be eager to get their
own Nao and develop new applications for it. So in some way you have to
pay to work for the company... But in the end, they hope to be able to
release a robot for the general public. They want to make the interface
as simple as possible, with a system of Apps like the iPhone, available
in the Nao Store. So if you develop good applications here, you may sell
them later to other people via this Nao Store.
More here on the features of Nao, the little Humanoid Robot.
To enter the Nao Developer Program, you will have to pay 3600€, tax included. But if you live outside France (or is it Europe?), you will pay the tax in your country instead of the 19.8% of France. For example, I live in Japan, and I payed a little more than 3000€ to Aldebaran Robotics, and then 18000 Yen of tax (approximately 150€). So the price is likely to be cheaper if you live abroad (even with the transportation fee, but I think it's included).
What do you get for this price? First, the most complete robot that you can buy privately. You also get the programming environment needed to develop new application. Nao understands C++ and Python, and some people have been working on using Java (Urbi is usually not supported). Then you get the middleware: Choregraphe, Telepathe, NaoQi and the Reference.
Choregraphe can be used to create complex behaviors in a more intuitive interface using boxes to represent functions (like in MatLab Simulink, you can do more than simple functions with the boxes). It can also be used to create new motions and combine them into complex interactive behaviors or state-machines.
Telepathe is a little software you can use to read the sensors data. It is useful when you test for example. NaoQi is an image of the server that is in Nao. That way, you can test your program without the robot mainly for debugging.
Finally, you can get a constant support from Aldebaran Robotics, and other people in the Nao Developer Program. They really listen to and answer all the questions you may have, upgrade regularly the softwares using your feedback and have just created the charging station in collaboration with some persons from the program.
So, if you want to participate in the Nao Developer Program, it is still open. As I said, what you need is some programming skills, a way to get the money (student? get a scholarship from your school), and a big passion to share! If you are interested or want to ask more questions, use the contact me form on this page,
a little yourself and ask me directly about it. As I write this article
(April 2011), you can still join the team! Don't hesitate, later may be
The official Website of the Nao Developer Program is here.
Are you making some very cool apps with Nao you want to showcase? Do you want to present you Robocup team? Use this invitation to show off your skills and advertise your projects.
300+ words is a must for me to accept your invitation. But it's not hard to do: here are a few questions to get you writing:
1) What can you Nao do? How can it help/entertain people? (put a link to YouTube if you have a video)
2) How did you make it? Describe the most challenging part, or explain how easy it can be done by the reader.
3) Tell us more about your experience with Nao: what's its best features? Its weaknesses? Where do you see it in the future?
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