NAO’s Role in Workplace Inclusion for People on the Autism Spectrum


The Dandelion Program

DXC is a global IT company continually looking to identify and employ talented people. Early on they realised many talented individuals, especially those on the Autism Spectrum, struggled to get through their mainstream recruitment processes. To rectify this, they developed the Dandelion Program, which allows candidates on the Autism Spectrum to showcase their skills and strengths by programming a NAO robot from The Brainary.

Happy to advise that over the last four years, we have employed some very talented people who continue to be employed by DXC.
— Felicia Vozzo, Dandelion Program Co-ordinator

The Dandelion Program is a sustainable three-year program, which focusses on building the careers and skills of people on the Autism Spectrum into the following IT roles: software testing, data analytics and cyber security. The program consists of two streams – internships and employment – with Dandelion teams in four states across Australia, employing nearly 60 people who are on the Autism Spectrum.

The Dandelion Program is not just about recruiting people with autism. Their aim is to build careers for people on the spectrum and to join with other institutions to address the high rate of unemployment in the autistic community.

The Internship program provides valuable paid IT work experience to students/graduates on the spectrum – they work on a real IT robotics project, using modern software development techniques.
— Felicia Vozzo, Dandelion Program Co-ordinator

Dandelion Work Experience Program with UniSA students in Adelaide

NAO – The Ideal Robotics Platform

The Dandelion Program designers chose the NAO robot from The Brainary because of its flexible programming levels. The Choregraphe software is ideal as an introductory level then, as the candidates advance in skill, they move on to Python SDK, where candidates get to program in a real programming language.

It is difficult to find another product that has these attributes. This assists us in being able set tasks for our candidates that suits their current skill level and also to provide some growth in their learning and test their potential.
— Felicia Vozzo, Dandelion Program Co-ordinator

NAO also has many advanced features, such as speech and facial recognition, that help produce a more human-like robot to engage an audience. When candidates see NAO for the first time they become mesmerised and are quite excited to use it.

The fact that it has many advanced features also provides us with the ability to add quite a lot of depth to our projects, so we can really push the boundaries of our candidates’ ability.
— Felicia Vozzo, Dandelion Program Co-ordinator
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When NAO is programmed the robot is placed in a school that has children on the Autism Spectrum.

The children immediately engage with the robot. NAO assists the students with various learning exercises – academic subjects, relaxation activities/techniques, games, storytelling and helping them understand their emotions.
— Felicia Vozzo, Dandelion Program Co-ordinator

The Dandelion Program – Future Opportunities

There are some extremely talented people on the autism spectrum, who cannot get through the normal recruitment process. If you create the right environment and provide the right support, people will thrive.
— Felicia Vozzo, Dandelion Program Co-ordinator

The Dandelion team continually look for opportunities to not only grow their program but to also introduce ideas and innovation. Over the last few years, they have established critical partnerships that will propel the Dandelion Program into the forefront of workplace inclusion. Given the success of the programs, some of these clients are requesting additional teams, plus DXC are partnering with new clients to implement Dandelion teams into their organisations. 

Internships in 2018:

Brisbane, June 2018, followed by Canberra and then Melbourne.

For anyone who is interested in registering or wish to find out more about the program, please contact:




The Dandelion Program Research Partnerships:

  • Cornell University
  • Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre, La Trobe University
  • University of Haifa
  • Ono Academic College

Established Neurodiversity Hubs – DXC with Cornell University, developed and implemented a framework for the creation of a pipeline of neurodiverse talent. This is to be extended to all states and territories but has currently been started at:

  • Swinburne University, Melbourne
  • Univer sity of  Queensland, Brisbane

Formed Partnerships with:

  • Uptimize – leading provider of digital neurodiversity training tools
  • Pymetrics – artificial intelligence-based assessment tools
  • University of Haifa - assessment selection and work performance management tools based on those used in the highly successful Israeli Defence Forces autism program

Congratulations to the 2018 Adelaide ‘Everybody Dance NAO’ Winners!

Last weekend our popular robot dancing contest was hosted in partnership with the superb Adelaide City Library. We had four enthusiastic schools with ten teams between them. The participating schools were: Parafields R-7 School, St Michaels Lutheran Primary School, St John’s Grammar School, and Woodcroft College. Each team demonstrated excellent skills in teamwork, problem solving, and programming. The goal was for the students - with the help of their dedicated teachers - to programme a NAO robot to dance for up to 30 seconds using the Choregraphe software.


However, the extra challenge was none of the students had ever worked with a physical robot before! All the teams completed their preparatory coding work on the Virtual Robot in Chorégraphe. Then, at the Dance Off Hackathon, they were able to get hands on with a real NAO robot to test out their programming. It was fantastic to see all the teams take up the challenge and have fun, while adjusting any last-minute coding to create their innovative dance moves.

Everyone made a brilliant effort, especially our winners … Woodcroft College!


Our Everybody Dance NAO Champions from Woodcroft College created a NAO dance that incorporated music, flashing LEDs (that changed colour) and speech, alongside great, balanced dance moves!

Each of the Dance moves were judged on their Balance, Creativity, Fluidity of Movement and Musical Timing, with a bonus point for original musical composition. We were fortunate to have three exceptionable judges, who had the unenviable task of picking a winner from 10 amazing dance compositions.

We would like to thank our Judges, The Lady Mayoress of Adelaide Genieveve Theseira-Haese, Monica Williams from AISSA and Simon Loffler from University of SA MOD for their generous support.

And likewise, a big thank you to the Adelaide City Library, the students, teachers and their families for supporting this wonderful event. 

NAO Tips Vol. 6: Virtual Robot Sound Troubleshooting

Building programs for NAO on the Virtual Robot within Choregraphe is a great way to experiment without access to a physical robot and is the main methodology used in the Everybody Dance NAO competition.

But for this to work effectively you need to be able to hear the Music to get your dance moves in sync. This troubleshooting guide should help get it working if you are not hearing anything.


Getting Setup

Step 1: Get your music

Choose your song and ensure it is in the correct format. The Virtual Robot will only play .WAV and .OGG file types; .WAV is recommended however.

Step 2: Edit and Name

If you only intend to use 30 seconds of a 3 minute song it is best to trim it down to only the section you require. This is to minimise the file size and your load times for your program. It is best to do this with Audacity or other music editing programs like Garage Band. When this is complete ensure to export your file as a .WAV and create a file name with NO SPACES.

Step 3: Play in Choregraphe

In Choregraphe create a Play Sound Box found in Audio/Sound/Play Sound. Connect this to your program and click the Spanner in its lower left corner. Then select the file selector next to file name and within the now open dialog click the plus (+) icon in the top right and select Import Files. Find your music file and select it. Once imported select your file from the Parameter Selection List and click OK.

Step 4: Play the file

Run your program and check for sound. Ensure your computers volume is turned up and that other computer sounds work. If it does not work please consult the list below for a solution.


Troubleshooting Steps

File Format

Ensure the file is a .WAV file the file name should be filename.wav, if it is not please convert to .wav using an online converter or music editing program.

File Name

Ensure there are no spaces in the file name, you can shorten it or use a programming case convention like camelCase (new word is capitalised) or snake_case (underscores separate words).


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


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!   


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 ….


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



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.


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


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!


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:

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

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

And the winners are ….

Primary School category - Bialik College


Secondary School category - Genazzano College


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.


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.


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


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.  


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.


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


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”.


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


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!’ 
Cunnamulla Library 1.jpg

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.