October 29, 2013
Aldebaran Robotics and Nuance Communications, Inc, (NASDAQ: NUAN) today announced that Aldebaran's renowned NAO Robot will integrate Nuance's conversational voice capabilities to deliver a more natural and compelling experience between humans and robots.
NAO is Aldebaran's successful, fully-programmable and interactive humanoid robot equipped with state-of-the-art motion, vision, tactile and audio capabilities. NAO can walk on different surfaces, track and recognize faces and objects, express and understand emotions, and react to touch and interact by voice. In fact, NAO has integrated Nuance's embedded voice recognition technology to accurately hear and respond to his interlocutor's voice, since 2011.
Aldebaran will now take advantage of Nuance's cloud-based voice recognition and expressive text-to-speech through
Nuance's NDEV developer program
. Combined, these technologies allow people to have truly natural conversations with the robot, in nineteen different languages. Further, NAO robots will become even further personalized through a custom text-to-speech voice that was specifically developed to match the robot's personality. As a result, Aldebaran will be able to create even more interaction possibilities for future generations of robots, and better develop how they will interact and engage in various settings, including education and special education environments with autistic children, and personal robotics. NAO robots featuring Nuance's Natural Language Understanding and text-to-speech will ship in early 2014.
"Developing natural, conversational interactions with humanoid robots is a challenging and pioneering area of robotics. Our robots have to express and understand emotions and for this, there needs to be expression in their voice that speaks to their personality, and matches their body language," said Bruno Maisonnier, CEO and founder of Aldebaran Robotics at a recent Nuance event. "Nuance and Aldebaran have combined our voice and robotics innovations to showcase what's possible for human-robot communication. Our vision is to create even more intuitive and human-like interactions between man and machine as part of the NAO experience, in turn creating a wealth of new application opportunities for NAO and the next generation of robotic companions."