Many of my greatest memories are holiday related – the Christmas of 1982 when Santa placed under our tree a stuffed prairie dog — Prairie Pup. My new special interest quickly became prairie dogs for the next eight years. Prairie Pup and I were inseparable until I began middle school. Prairie Pup became the first prairie dog expelled from the Oakland County Schools. The Special Education teachers informed my parents, “Your son is too old to be carrying a love-worn prairie dog desparately needing Rogaine.”
As I travel the country with our fleet of robots the most frequently asked question about any of the robots is always what does it do? What would I use it for? This question is asked at every robot encounter and about every robot we provide. So, for this writing I will answer that question about/for the NAO Robot from SoftBank Robotics. I will address other robots in later writings. More than 10,000 NAO robots are in use in over 50 countries. So that fact alone should be an indication of the robustness of NAO’s versatility, utility and functionality.
For a preschool class, the TAPit is hard to beat. I like the fact that it is adjustable in height thus allowing Animated Step-by-Steps to be presented at the appropriate height for a seated preschooler. With a press of a button the screen can adjust up and down; it can even be tilted into a more horizontal presentation to allow a student in an upright stander to easily interact with an Animated Step-by-Step poem or song. It has a feature called ‘intended touch’, that is, it can recognize the difference between ‘an arm resting upon the screen and a finger … intentionally tapping an image’.
Last week I was lucky enough to attend the Closing the Gap conference in Minneapolis. As usual, it was a great conference filled with great people and great information. Of course, we spent a little bit of time at Mall of America to eat and explore.