Privacy challenges stand between you and your own private robot

We’re a long way off from a future where every home comes with its own robot. But if that day ever comes, robots like NAO will have led the way.

NAO, a nearly two-foot tall humanoid robot, is made by Paris-based Aldebaran Robotics. At this point, it’s largely used in research labs, universities and schools as a teaching tool for students. But as we’ll see in this video report, Aldebaran sees the potential for NAO beyond the classroom.

nao gallery

NAO, a nearly two-foot-tall robot, uses various communication devices, such as a voice synthesizer, LED lights and two speakers.

“The goal has always been to create companion robots that will be in everybody’s home,” says Nicolas Rigaud of Aldebaran. “This market doesn’t exist yet, but we’re trying to create it to make it happen.”

Price is one thing standing in the way of you and a robot-equipped future: A NAO robot currently costs about $10,000. Once the price comes down, though, and further refinements are made to the hardware and software, Rigaud said NAO will be ready for the consumer market.

nao education

Nao is mostly used as a teaching tool at this point, but maker Aldebaran Robotics sees a future where companion robots are in every home.

NAO appeared at last week’s RSA Conference in San Francisco, where Rigaud spoke about security and privacy issues that humanoid robots will bring. Such robots would need to collect information to be able to do things like navigate around a house autonomously, recognize faces, and talk to humans.

“If you want to have open conversation, like with a human, with the robot, it means that the robot has to understand everything that you are saying, not just focus on one key word inside your sentence,” Rigaud said. “It means that this data is gathered, is processed, you need to feel comfortable with the fact that the robot will always be recording what you’re doing.”

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