I have a little boy who just turned four. He's loved robots since he was 18 months old, and somewhere between two and three years old, he started asking to watch videos of vintage tin robot toys on YouTube. But watching wind-up toys roll around gets tiring after a while, so at some point, I started looking for videos of real robots. One of the best ones I came across was from a company called Aldebaran Robotics. Their NAO robots were cute, they moved like people, and talked to one another. It became on of my son's favorites.
A few months ago, our CEO Bertrand Sicot told me that he was visting the company in Paris, and that they were a customer. I thought that was pretty cool, and it was only shortly afterward that Marie Planchard told me that she would be presenting with them at SolidWorks World 2012. You may have already seen their presentation on our YouTube channel.
One of the most interesting things about Aldebaran is that they are working with a number of schools and researchers on ways that robots can be incorporated into different therapies. For example, Aldebaran is working with a group using robots to help autistic children. In some situations, it's easier for autistic children to interact with robots than people due to their predictable range of responses, non-threatening appearance, and comfort with repetition.
Shortly after his presentation at SolidWorks World, I took a few minutes to sit down with company founder Bruno Maisonnier to talk about his company and its mission (and also to tell him how much my son wants one of his robots). You can see it here. Where do you see the future of robotics heading? Let us know in the comments section below.