Robotics and Home Automation the next step

In one of my first posts I talked about Robotics, in particular a Raspberry PI project with Java to create a spider robot. That project was great fun, and in the end it tasted like I should really finally take the next step.

A few years ago I was at a conference in San Francisco the JavaOne, there was a company there called Aldebaran to demo their little Robot. Instantly I knew that Robot was so great I wanted to experiment with one. However it was very hard to get one, and not so affordable.

Although the affordable part has not changed, I am happy to say that I did manage to acquire one almost 3 years after meeting him the first time. I am happy to introduce my new buddy that we call “Peppy”:


Aldebaran NAO Robot

The above robot is a NAO robot from a company called Aldebaran. He is one of the more advanced Humanoid research platform robots you can get these days at a relatively affordable level. He has 25 degrees of freedom, 2 cameras, 4 microphones and several other sensors all over his body. The robot also has Wifi and is powered by an Intel Atom processor running a Linux OS based on Gentoo distribution.

What is great about the robot is the great SDK that comes with it. Out of the box there is a graphical studio called Choregraphe which has a blocks based editor allowing you to develop behaviours for your robot. This is very easy and I could already quickly assemble this little dialog (In Dutch):

The robot also comes with a Python and Java SDK. The cool part about this SDK is that it does not matter if it runs remotely or on the robot itself. I will write a bit more about the SDK in future articles.


I have had the robot already for a few weeks, and often I get asked what am I planning to do with it. Well I want to fuse the world of home automation and robotics with each other. Would it not be great if you open the door and a robot can greet you? And you can tell your robot your preferences and he can automatically arrange things for you.

Is this any different than a Siri, perhaps not so much, but the robot can make it more personal and physical which is something Siri simply cannot do. In the coming months I will explore and research this topic more, and hopefully share a bit more about this, stay tuned..


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