Congratulations to our Sydney ‘Everybody Dance NAO’ 2017 Finalists!

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The Sydney leg of the ‘Everybody Dance NAO!’ competition was held this year at The Connection in Rhodes stylish Event Space and was warmly hosted by the City of Canada Bay Libraries.

Leading up to the grand ‘dance off’ our top ten teams had only an hour to perfect their coding with NAO under the mentorship of Brainary Interactive’s robot specialists, Jordan and Mark. The pressure was on to tweak any glitches and adjust those wayward algorithms, using an array of excellent problem-solving skills!   

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And the results were awesome - each team created a unique dance for NAO, while working brilliantly together to ensure their program would be the best it could be.

Now for the winners ….

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The BrainBots from Elementary Robotics Academy won in our primary school category with a superb dance programmed to music they had also composed. 

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St Patrick's College for Girls Campbelltown won in our secondary school category with a sleek and sophisticated dance, which NAO pulled off without a hitch.

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Well done to all participants for making the day a huge success!

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We would also like to thank our partners at The Connection, Rhodes and the City of Canada Bay Libraries for their assistance on the day and for supporting this event, and a hearty thanks to all the students, teachers and families involved!

Congratulations to the Humanoid Robot Project team for winning at this year’s Digital Disruptor Awards with NAO!

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The annual ACS Digital Disruptor Awards recognise the achievements and talent of individual ICT professionals and group ICT skills, and service transformations across a range of key award categories.

Here at The Brainary we are proud to share in the success of the Humanoid Robot Project team in winning the Gold Disruptor for 2017 in the category for Service Transformation for the Digital Consumer (NGO/NFP).

This research project has been a collaboration between The Association of Independent Schools of SA (AISSA), who own the NAO robots, Swinburne University, the University of Queensland and the Queensland University of Technology to gain insight into the impact of humanoid robots on student learning, the integration of the robots into the Australian Curriculum and the pedagogical approaches that enhance and extend student learning.

The initial idea for the project emerged in 2014 when AISSA Educational Consultant, Monica Williams, met with Hugh Kingsley of The Brainary to discuss the educational applications of the NAO humanoid robot.

From there The Brainary, which have the NAO franchise in Australia and were the catalyst for the project forming, connected Monica Williams at AISSA to Dr Therese Keane from Swinburne University and two of her colleagues, Dr Chris Chalmers from QUT and Marie Boden from UQ.

One of the great outcomes of this cutting-edge research was learning how children learn in ways not previously known.

Their preliminary findings also indicated an increase in student engagement, differentiation of student learning, self-directed learning, deep learning, and a fostering of creativity, collaboration, communication, critical thinking, coding and computational thinking.

Congratulations to the researchers on a job well done!

Researchers from left: Dr Marie Boden (UQ), Dr Therese Keane (SUT), Ms Monica Williams (AISSA) and Dr Christina Chalmers (QUT) shared the findings of the first year of the 2015-2017 Humanoid Robot Research Project at the Australian Council for Computers in Education Conference 2016.

Researchers from left: Dr Marie Boden (UQ), Dr Therese Keane (SUT), Ms Monica Williams (AISSA) and Dr Christina Chalmers (QUT) shared the findings of the first year of the 2015-2017 Humanoid Robot Research Project at the Australian Council for Computers in Education Conference 2016.

For a full list of the 2017 Digital Disruptors Awards winners please see link below:

https://www.acs.org.au/insightsandpublications/media-releases/ACScelebratesexcellenceinict.html

Too read more about the research and motivation behind the project please see links below:

http://www.ais.sa.edu.au/home/general-information/centre-for-excellence

Melbourne's ‘Everybody Dance NAO' 2017 Winners - Congratulations on an awesome job!

And the winners are ….

Primary School category - Bialik College

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Secondary School category - Genazzano College

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The Melbourne section of this year’s ‘Everybody Dance NAO’ robot dancing competition all started in August with 30 students signing up to participate in the NAO dance-off contest. This annual contest culminated in a grand robot-dancing finale at the Robotica Festival held at Science Works this weekend. All the entrants made a wonderful effort with Bialik College not only programming their NAO to dance but also writing the music NAO danced to. While Genazzano College did a fantastic mash-up of music medleys, ranging from rock to pop.

And through it all NAO shone, performing in front the students, teachers, families and enthusiastic robot fans - all there to join in on the fun and excitement of the Robotica Festival.

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Established in 2015, ‘Everybody Dance NAO’ is a free programming competition designed to give students access to the latest robotics’ software and technology. Students and their teachers get to join the experts from The Brainary to learn coding, using the advanced humanoid robot NAO.

We’d like to thank our partners DLTV (Digital Learning and Teaching Victoria) & Science Works for supporting this event.

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And a warm thanks to all the teachers and parents for their support, and especially for getting up early on a Sunday morning!

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NAO Tips Vol. 5: Advanced Animation – Behaviour Layers

When creating a timeline for Nao you can Add Behaviour Layers to your animation that you create. A Behaviour layer allows you to synchronise Box Based actions you find in the box library like speech, LED’s, sound etc to the actions in your timeline.

If you have Synchronised music to your animation for a dance you have probably done this before, the following image shows a behaviour layer called music which at KeyFrame 1 (the start of the animation) The Play Sound Box will run.  

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But we can add an extra layer to this and add extra KeyFrames which will synchronise the LED’s or some speech to the robots actions.

To add an extra layer click the plus (+) sign on Behaviour Layers.

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You can then Rename this layer to whatever you like, but logical names are always best.

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We now have an extra layer we can use to synchronise other aspects of the robot.

Right Click at the point in time you would like to have the event start and select “Insert KeyFrame”.

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This will create a KeyFrame. Using the workspace below you can add boxes to this KeyFrame.

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This Says at KeyFrame 49, run the Say Box.

Adding these layers is an excellent way to add more to your animations. It is also an excellent way to make your programs Real Time.

NAO Inspires Outback Queensland Community...

‘The Highlight of Cunnamulla Library!’ 
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Situated 910 kilometres South West of Brisbane (three-hours by plane) is the remote town of Cunnamulla. With a population of only 1,865, Cunnamulla is considered a low socio-economic area. However, the town boasts a diverse and passionate community, eager to develop skills relevant for the 21st century. 

Two years ago, this was made possible when the town's public library became the proud owner of a NAO Humanoid Robot after successfully applying for a Coding and Robotics Grant through State Library of Queensland. And they haven’t looked back!

Cunnamulla Librarian, Tammy, explains: ‘During the two plus years we have had our Humanoid Robot and it has proved invaluable to our community.’

The Library uses NAO regularly for: 

  • Storytelling time
  • Aiding students with learning difficulties
  • Helping those in the community with dementia
  • Improving students’ overall linguistic skills
‘Our robot has also been used in other innovative ways, such as opening a community meeting, and is an integral part of our 0-5 weekly program where we bring it out to do the alphabet with the children as well as some of the other favourite nursery rhymes. Nao’s appearance is always the highlight of any program we use it in.’ 
— Tammy, Librarian, Paroo Shire Council

NAO Tips Vol. 3: How to package and install applications with trigger sentences 

NAO's ability to listen to and act on voice commands is central to its ability to function as a social robot. This tutorial shows how to package and install Chorégraphe applications with trigger sentences onto your NAO robot. Trigger sentences enable you to launch your application through a voice command in Autonomous mode

Part 1 - Adding trigger sentences. 

To add trigger sentences click the 'properties' button within the 'project content' window (see below). If you cannot find the project content window, select 'View' in the top menu bar and make sure the 'project content' is checked. 

Next you need to select 'Behavior_1' (this is the default name for applications unless changed) in the top left hand corner of the pop-up window. 

Now you will be able to add trigger sentence by clicking in the 'trigger sentences' box and adding each sentence in the top right hand bar (for example Macarena Dance). 

Now that you have assigned trigger sentences to your application, the application is ready to be installed on your robot. To do this, click the 'package & install' icon contained in the 'robot applications' window (see below). Now your application is ready to be launched via voice command. 

A. Package & Install - adds current application to your robot. 

B. Application list - Know which Applications are currently installed on the robot.

C. Default flag - Indicates which behaviours are set as Default Behaviours.

D. Execution status - Play/Stop installed Behaviour or Application.

 

Bonus tip: Add a kill/exit switch to your application so that the application can be exited from the robot. 

A kill/exit switch is highly recommended for all applications loaded onto NAO and can be achieved using a variety of different sensors - some being more practical than others. In the image below the tactile head sensor is used for this function by connecting the box's input to the beginning of the application and its output to the end of the application. In this case, if the head sensor is triggered a signal is sent to end the application overriding all other boxes. 

DigiTech Curriculum and NAO

Why NAO?

As an integral part of the National and State agenda, coding and robotics are quickly becoming mandatory within the Australian Digital Technologies Curriculum. Teaching technologies with NAO not only prepares students for future employment in the digital age but also provides an appreciation of how robotics can help in the community today. 

NAO is a unique platform both in functionality and design that inspires learners of all ages and abilities; from competent coders to those who have previously shown little or no interest in STE(A)M related areas.

How Coding and Robotics fit into STE(A)M:

NAO is the perfect platform to create differentiated classes that combine hard-skills in technology with equally important soft-skills learned in the humanities. In fact, a recent report by Deloitte Access Economics emphasises the importance of soft-skills in the workplace, predicting that soft-skills will account for two thirds of jobs by 2030. Example lessons could include: 

Mathematics – Use NAO to program coordinates or to walk along an X and Y axis to finish at a certain angle, or use NAO’s 25 degrees of freedom to animate the robot by placing its body parts at different angles. Nao can also process complex data and equations. 

Drama – Combine Drama, English Classics, and ICT to program NAO robots to perform Shakespeare’s plays as a school in the UK has done. 

LOTE – Several Australian schools have used NAO in interactive language classes where students program conversations in LOTE, including an indigenous language. NAO currently speaks 19 different languages.

Create Capable Coders:

Used in real world settings, NAO is programmed utilising multiple languages including: C++, Java, Javascript, Python, and the visual programming interface ‘Chorégraphe’. 

Three features that set NAO apart from other robotics programs:

Drag and Drop Programming and Python - The NAO Chorégraphe Software comes with an icon-based environment that eases students into algorithmic logic and programming principles. The interface also provides easy access to Python code and exercises in the accompanying STEM textbook offer multiple levels: beginner through to advanced.

A Focus on Coding with a Humanoid Robot – NAO’s humanoid features allow students to create real life human-robot interactions. Rather than simply focusing on programming and coding, students program social interactions and learn about communication in an entirely new way.

Virtual Robot – Chorégraphe provides a 3D virtual robot, enabling students to test their programs, troubleshoot, and refine their programs without needing access to the actual NAO robot hardware. This makes NAO a scalable and cost effective solution for multiple classes. 

Inspiring Reluctant Coders:

Engagement - NAO is both an educational and motivational resource. NAO’s human characteristics of sight, speech, touch, hearing and movement connect to various student interests and captivate them on both intellectual and emotional levels. Students who see themselves as typically “person-oriented, non-STEM types” can become engaged initially through NAO’s likeable persona. Students can then start envisaging ways that NAO can be programmed to fill various roles in society and create their own projects that will ultimately require more complex coding. As such, NAO is a powerful tool to attract otherwise reluctant students into STE(A)M subjects and future careers. 

Competitions - Using NAO, STE(A)M education can come alive with the ability to run coding competitions that culminate in public events where NAO performs student programs. Digital Learning and Teaching Victoria host an annual dance contest called ‘Everybody Dance NAO!’ in conjunction with The Brainary. 

Community Engagement - NAO is a “professional level robot” used in numerous Australian Universities, commercial settings, and the health sector for rehabilitation. Programming with NAO demonstrates the impact of robotics in the wider community and allows students to create projects which directly influence their communities. By working with NAO students can critically engage with community issues and gain a richer understanding of diversity, such as how NAO assists people with autism, dementia and younger children.

NAO Education Package:

The Brainary’s package includes everything a school needs to engage students and teachers alike in STE(A)M, including expert teacher professional development, ongoing support, and a textbook with ten modules on how to program the NAO robot using Python Coding and Drag and Drop Programming. The textbook also comes with a DigiTech Curriculum Companion that matches exercises to the Australian Curriculum.

NAO Tips Vol. 2

Tip 3: What is Python code? 

When working with Nao in Chorégraphe it is great to remember that every base Box is made of Python Code that you can read and edit. You can also create your own Python box using the Python template in the standard box library.  Python is a specially designed programming language for teaching and learning. If you have learnt another programming language the hard way it is abundantly clear that Python is a wonderful language. Conventional programming languages tend to yell at you for the simplest of mistakes and the error messages are painfully hard to translate. Python on the other hand, is kind. If you have an error Python will tell you exactly what you did wrong and often how to fix it. As the boxes in Chorégraphe are made of python code it supports an incremental approach to learning programming. You can create your own code that to do something simple, then connect that to other boxes in Choregraphe to make some very interesting things happen. For example, the code to tell if a number is odd or even is shown below. This code allows an exercise app in Chorégraphe to alternate arms as it counts the reps.

If you would like to know more about programming in Python a good place to start is the Python documentation: https://docs.python.org/2/library/index.html. Here you will find every command available in Python. In the next issue we will be doing a deep dive into writing your own python module to get Nao to say the day of the week.