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Linux-powered Robots From France? Oui! 198

An anonymous reader writes "A French start-up created to build autonomous, easily programmable, affordable humanoid robots expects to ship its first product — a humanoid household service robot running Linux — in early 2007. The walking, talking, WiFi-enabled Nao household robot will stand 21.6 inches tall, and will feature 23 "degrees of freedom" of motion — three more than the 14-inch tall Choromet android announced earlier this week by four Japanese companies. Nao's extra degrees of freedom appear to come in the form of gripping hands."
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Linux-powered Robots From France? Oui!

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  • by lbrandy ( 923907 ) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @10:03AM (#15749562)
    I for one welcome our new blah blah blah overlords. Please, let your first act be banning this joke.
    • in soviet russia, government bores YOU to death with the same inane "jokes" over and over again,

      also i cant wait for the following tags to help me locate relevant articles:

      fud, notfud, itsatrap, yes, no, maybe, stupid, duh, oldnews, slownewsday

      of particular help with be the fact that searching for either "fud" or "notfud" will return exactly the same search results. (the same goes for yes/no/maybe)

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 20, 2006 @10:19AM (#15749680)
      Laissé soyez soit le premier à dire...

      I pour un, font bon accueil à nos nouveaux suzerains Linux-actionnés de robot de France !

      • by Anonymous Coward
        You mean

        Que je sois le premier qui dit,

        moi, comme l'un, je souhaite la bienvenue a nos nouveaux patrons robotique qui font le bang-bang aux pingouins!
      • Re:Non, non, non !!! (Score:4, Informative)

        by Yvanhoe ( 564877 ) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @11:37AM (#15750209) Journal
        I as one am, want merry welcome our overlorded linuxed French robot.

        That should hurt your brain like it did mine :-)

        Je suis fier d'être le premier à déclarer (correctement):
        Bienvenue à nos nouveaux suzerains robotiques tournant sous linux !
      • A good translation would be

        Que je sois le premier a declarer:
        J'accueil pour ma part a bras ouverts nos seigneurs et maitres robotiques.
      • Allowed you be follows the first to say "I" [sic, you didn't even translate that] for one, make good welcome to our new Linux-actioned overlords of robot of France?

        If you're going to abuse BabelFish, you might as well make up the pseudo-French yourself. "Moi, pour un, welcommé ze nouveau ouverlordes du Linux robot!"
  • Oddly... (Score:3, Funny)

    by The-Bus ( 138060 ) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @10:07AM (#15749595)
    This robot runs on free beer.
    • This robot runs on free beer.

      A French robot that runs on beer? I don't think so!

      Free wine perhaps.

      // TODO: insert linux/wine joke here.

      --------

    • I wonder how small you could make an ethanol distiller. Couple it to a direct ethanol fuel cell (google for Acta), and you've got the makings of Bender.
      • I wonder how small you could make an ethanol distiller.
        Theoretically the problem would be to have a heat source, in practice just choose the right cpu frequency and use beer as coolant until it evaporates. Neat huh?
  • by Dark Paladin ( 116525 ) <jhummel.johnhummel@net> on Thursday July 20, 2006 @10:08AM (#15749597) Homepage
    My 4 year old son is obsessed with making his own "Mario angel" (aka - from "Angelic Layer"), and I've started looking for small, programmable robots he can putter with - anything bigger, and I fear for the safety of my household when he tries to program it with a Butt Stomp or some such.
  • AIEEEE!!! (Score:3, Funny)

    by $RANDOMLUSER ( 804576 ) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @10:09AM (#15749602)
    So many jokes, so little time...
    ...our new rude smelly overlords...
    ...robot army surrenders...
    ...collabrative software...
  • Great, but can it strike?

  • by digitaldc ( 879047 ) * on Thursday July 20, 2006 @10:09AM (#15749610)
    Aldebaran Robotics was founded in early 2005 by Bruno Maisonnier. The company employs about a dozen, is 5 percent employee-owned, and has 17 investors, led by Maisonnier, who holds a 58 percent stake.

    Wait a minute, wasn't Alderaan Robotics completely destroyed by Grand Moff Tarkin a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away?
  • Yes, but... (Score:5, Funny)

    by carnellm ( 256788 ) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @10:14AM (#15749643) Homepage
    Will they head-butt their opponents?
  • I mean, this is great - but will they get anything done in July or August? And, during those months, will they be supporting open-source Speedos?
    • I mean, this is great - but will they get anything done in July or August? And, during those months, will they be supporting open-source Speedos?

      Worse yet, will you be able to fire them when they become lazy and incompetent?

  • I've seen motion sensitive camera software...how tricky would it be to mod this robot into a motion sensing attack robot with a motion sensitive firearm or bomb thrower? Has anyone attempted this tricky of a project? Is the motion sensing software (and facial recognition software) accurate enough to target soft vital areas, such as the eyes, on a fast moving target? Could these robots be useful as attack robots, especially since there doesn't seem to be any use for robots aside from housekeeping and defusin
  • When will someone take the sensors, gyros and other items used to make this work and upscale it so we can finally have Mech wars?
  • by DieByWire ( 744043 ) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @10:19AM (#15749674)
    The software will also enable users to program their android's behavior, emotional expressions, speech synthesizer...


    I see it coming already: "I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries."

    Reaches for remote...

    "Now go away or I shall taunt you a second time."

    I'm not so sure this is a good idea.

  • Jolie! (Score:3, Funny)

    by marcello_dl ( 667940 ) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @10:19AM (#15749678) Homepage Journal
    Let's see if the open source philosophy works with hardware too. For instance, Italian hackers could teach this robot to play soccer, French hackers to do proper headbutts, German ones to make unfunny jokes about other nations, and so on.
  • will we have a Nao robot head-butting its opponents?
  • Daft Punk fans have known this since the 90s. Witness their latest non-musical project Electroma [youtube.com]. It's a beautiful movie that follows two brave robots who want to find out what it means to be human.
  • I, for one, (Score:4, Funny)

    by greenegg77 ( 718749 ) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @10:23AM (#15749703) Homepage Journal
    I, for one, look forward to our new French robotic overlords' surrender.
    • "Maisonnier believes the field of robotics to be "perfectly adapted" to the French culture, thanks to demands that include conceptual thinking, theoretical knowledge, practical capabilities, and resourcefulness."

      Good thing they aren't trying to make warbots.

      (Sorry, but the parent post started...)
    • Re:I, for one, (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      These jokes don't translate well outside of the U.S.. Quite the opposite, it gives the impression Americans are typically imbecilic. 'Yuk it up.'
  • This means the French will be literally assembling an army to take back thier legacy of French Fries from those who renamed them Freedom Fries... and to think.... the only thing standing in thier way is http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/06/20/195 3256 [slashdot.org] All hail the new linux powered robot overlords with frency mustaches
    • Well, "French" fries are actually Beligan. Although I have yet to see "Freedom Fries" on a menu anywhere, I suspect the whole thing was rather more an occasion for Gallic bemusement rather than anger.

      A lot can be explained by the probability that American farm-boy GIs had a bit of difficulty with the distinction between somebody who happens to speak French and somebody who is of the French nationality. One wonders how many of them refused to stay "down on the farm" after visiting Brussels.
  • ah, nevermind. The horse is putrescent. Is there a hose nearby? I need to wash off my boots.
  • A surly, chain-smoking robot, to not do the work you need to get done around the home, which you cannot fire. Sign me up!

    Disclaimer: Been to France a couple of times and actually the above would more properly be typical of Parisian behavior; the French people outside Paris have always been quite nice.

    • A surly, chain-smoking robot, to not do the work you need to get done around the home, which you cannot fire. Sign me up!

      And here I was, thinking it was an ob. Futurama reference. But you had to ruin it by making it a French joke...
  • The HKR-1 [sozbots.com] has been out for a while now. At a ballpark of $1,500, affordability is debatable.

    Seems like a very similar platform, minus the wifi (which could be added).

    I would be interested to see the price point at which these new linux+wifi bots would be sold. I would be surprised to see a sub $500 pricetag, and probably happy to see a sub $1,000 price point.

    I wonder what this company feels is affordable?
  • As long as the French don't build them like their prizefighters ;)
  • Aren't there only six?
  • Surrender jokes. It's like Little Green Footballs circa March 2003 all over again.

    Anyone have anything interesting to say? About robots?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Nope. The American contingent is too busy propping up its low self-esteem with pallid jokes about the French. The irony is the jokes are based on France's refusal to acquiesce to American pressure, but that level of subtlety is well beyond the grasp of the majority of simians posting so far.
  • At first I thought, "Cool! Some innovative /.'er will mod this to do cool stuff like wash dishes or vacuum". Then I remembered how nafareous some of you guys are. Please keep in mind. This robot is too short to be a sex toy!
  • I know it is an attempt at a joke but it is getting very old.

    In WWII the Americans had 11,200 civilian casualties, the French had 267,000. In total the Americans had 407,300 military casualties from a population of 132 million, the French had 212,000 from a population of 41.7 million.
       
  • Nao's extra degrees of freedom appear to come in the form of gripping hands. Coochi-coochi coo!
  • by refriedchicken ( 961967 ) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @11:13AM (#15750017)
    Atleast we know Isaac Asimov's Laws of not harming anyone will be followed.
    • Ah, yes. Unlike the American ones who will say that these laws do not apply to them, because they are not a robot, but "a mechanism that can move automatically", which is completely different.

      So they can harm whomever and whatever they like.
  • At least if they decide to go Skynet on the world we know the French robots will never be able to win a war.
  • The use of humanoid robots will be limited to pointless tasks (greeters at Walmart)in the future. They are difficult to make, difficult to maintain (mechanically) and won't ever match the abilities of humans as long as we keep them "humanoid". The cost will never be less than the minimal benefits. You'd be better off with holograms for greeters once the technology is ironed out. In fact, for virtually any human/sentient machine interaction you're better off with holograms or VR. The only need for robot
    • I think you are right in the long term, but here and now, 80% of all machines and vehicles are made for humans. You can automate a machine, and this machine will be automatic. If you can create a humanoid robot, it could use all machines. Today I think we need to prove that "it can be done", that some tasks don't require a human brain to supervise the operation. I am sure that a construction droid with a hundred different tools on his body would be more efficient, but right now we need a robot with a hand t
    • Fine, they're cool toys, but that's about it. Humanoid shapes are useful for non-specialized robots that need to be able to do a wide variety of things, and two-foot-tall robots aren't able to do many of the things a larger robot could.
      • For instance, if you want the robot to fetch you a beer, it needs to be able to reach into the refrigerator.
      • If you want a robot to vacuum your floors in your uncluttered house, you can get a specialized robot like Roomba, or you can have a general-purpose robot push a
  • We should use other staples. Yes, it DOES run linux.
  • But it.... (Score:2, Funny)

    by jagdish ( 981925 )
    ...doesnt sound quite the same

    mordre mon âne brillant en métal.

    mordre:bite
    mon:my
    brilliant:shiny
    (you get the picture)
  • > and will feature 23 "degrees of freedom" of motion

    you mean as in "freedom fries"?

    Also, do french robots only move backwards? (hey wait, weren't those italian robots? my bad...)
  • And I want it to look like Chii [wikipedia.org] dang it! :-P
  • Not even two feet tall, it strikes me as nothing more than a toy.

    Not that there's anything wrong with it being a toy, but the article makes reference to them being "household" robots, which should imply that there is a measure of practical usefulness to them in the household.

  • How does one say, "Must Kill All Humans" in french. I ndded to know what to listen for.
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @12:56PM (#15750883) Homepage
    Please link to the actual site [aldebaran-robotics.com], not the blog. We don't need to read all the blogodreck and ads.
  • The Nao [linuxdevices.com] is decidely reminiscent of MegaMan [armchairempire.com], while the Choromet [linuxdevices.com] looks like a cross between something from any of the Gundams [mechanicalrage.it] and Bubblegum Crisis [theempire.com.au]. Is it possible to build a humanoid robot that doesn't rip off a Japanese TV show or videogame, people?
  • On one hand, I would love a robot. On the other hand, I'll bet they are expensive. On the gripping hand, Moties aren't available for purchase.
  • "Euro-heaven" - British humour, German technology, French food.

    "Euro-hell" - British food, German humour, French technology.

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