It seems like robots are getting more realistic each day, and the NAO Next Gen could be the coolest yet. This version has a new on-board computer with a powerful 1.6GHz Intel AtomTM processor.

Aldebaran Robotics designed this NAO robot to help teach autistic children, or help others not capable of autonomy. That’s right, this is not a toy, and there is a video available after the jump so you can see what is capable of.

Look at the thing, it has prehensile hands, for crying out loud! I also love the dual cameras that are capable of facial recognition, as well as the four microphones. You can talk to it with a vocal recognition program known as Nuance, and teach it a few things like how to play catch, for example.

In case you are wondering if the NAO Next Gen will be for sale, the answer is “yes”. I don’t yet have a price on this guy, but I would imagine that it would be pricy.

So is the NAO the beginning of a new era of servant robots? I can easily imagine a future where these tiny robots make my bed, do my dishes, and other household chores that I would rather not do. This image is plucked from several science fiction movies, and I wonder if we really are headed into this type of era of servant robots.

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