NAO is an interactive, humanoid robot designed to assist children on the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It is intended to help reduce their anxiety, offer encouragement, build trust, and bridge the communication gap between children with ASD and the people around them. NAO can move with 25 degrees of freedom; perceive the environment around him using the sensors in his head, hands and feet; hear and speak using his four directional microphones and loudspeakers; see and recognize the shapes around him using his two cameras; and access the Internet autonomously through Wi-Fi or Ethernet.
NAO was also designed to help support teachers with in-class tasks and help children with autism and other cognitive disabilities. Developers collaborated with teachers and autism experts to create customizable, semi-autonomous educational programs for NAO, inspired by various autism approaches and models (i.e., ABA, PECS, TEACCH, DENVER, and SCERTS). The aim of these programs is to help children develop social and learning skills through encouragement and rewards, making it possible to positively stimulate and give confidence to users. Interaction with NAO is translated through playing games. The programs include behaviors responding to a large spectrum of learning goals, such as turn taking, interpersonal communication, vocabulary lessons, the recognition of emotions, following instructions, etc. Sessions with NAO can be personalized and the tasks are adapted to each child’s learning goals, motivators, internal states, and personality.