The Nao Robot Is Ready to be Your Board Game Buddy

A team out of France has taught a robot how to play the classic board game Connect Four, but this isn’t some mere act of technical expertise. The Nao robot can not only strategize and place pieces in the appropriate slot, it can recognize the face and emotion of its opponent. It’s less like playing against a computer and more like competing against a companion. HumaRobotics, the R&D branch of Generation Robots developed the algorithms for the Connect Four demonstration to highlight the feasibility of social interactions between humans and machines. With facial recognition, vocal interactions, and cheat detections it certainly seems like the Nao is ready to play as a full partner.
The first video from HumaRobotics outlines the general concepts of the project. By highlighting the algorithms that a child uses to play the Connect Four game the clip shows that Nao’s accomplishments are quite impressive: