‘Chitti-like’ robots to train Kovai students

Students of Avila Convent Matriculation Higher Secondary School here would learn the fascinating tech of robotics from a new teacher.
The Naos in action at Avila Convent in Coimbatore on Saturday
The Naos in action at Avila Convent in Coimbatore on Saturday


Meet Nao, a 25 per cent humanoid robot, that would be handling classes for girls. The interesting part is, the robot would teach them on the nittygritties of making a robot like him. Two such robots were dedicated to the school as part of their golden jubilee celebrations. 
“I am 58 cm tall and weigh five kilos,” Nao said. The robots can talk, walk, respond, dance, pick up objects and recognise face and voice, differentiate boys and girls among a host of other functions. Priced at a little more than Rs 8 lakh a piece, these bots are programmed to talk 19 languages including English, Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, French, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Arabic and Spanish. 
They can also read and write with the three fingers they have on each hand. They have a battery backup and operate for four hours when charged for three hours. They have sensors to avoid stumbling or bumping into an obstacle but their polysonic fibre makes them unbreakable. The interactive bots can also have a conversation  among themselves. Vijay Shah, Chief Executive Officer of Coimbatore-based Vishnu Engineering, which developed the Nao, told DTNext that they have delivered over 100 earlier versions of Nao to over 30 top engineering colleges across the country. “The ones  that Avila Convent will be using is the 5th version and the most advanced ones,” he added. 
He claimed that the school is also the first in the country to use humanoid robots to handle classes. “Nao can take classes and make a speech on behalf of someone in case of unavoidable absence of the person. Our staff will be available to assist the school in handling robotics class,” he said and made it clear that they are not a replacement for teachers. 
A teacher of the school who is coordinating the course said, “We are getting acquainted with the two new humanoid colleagues. We are yet to decide on the various ways in which the Naos will be put to effective use.”

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