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2 consultants on a 2-month mission
In 2007, the customer was a young start-up aiming to develop humanoid robotics, make it rapidly accessible to all, and compete with the very costly humanoid robotics from Japan. Although robotics is a long-established means in industry of automating repetitive tasks, it is less widespread in a "social” context as a provider of human services.
The objective of start-up Aldebaran Robotics was to develop the first small humanoid robot, socially acceptable to humans, as a platform for robotic gaming and humanoid robotic development.
The objective of our mission was to help the start-up (2 people in 2006) to draw up an initial application for funding from Oséo (which became Bpifrance in 2013) through its aid for innovation programme: this application allowed it to supply a detailed description of the issues involved in humanoid robotics at that time, whether from the perspective of social acceptance, robot design, technological obstacles (balance, walking, computer vision, data fusion, onboard power, etc.), as well as the market targeted by the company and the means of entering it.
We helped the company compile the different elements for drafting the application and structure a relevant work plan for conception, design, development and the different tests and demonstrations of the robotics platform. This batch of work generated a large budget.
Our methodology was based on analysis of the technical documents describing the project, telephone exchanges and numerous physical meetings. The Efficient Innovation team took full charge of drawing up the proposal with successive iterations of cross-proofreading.
Effective collaboration with the project leader enabled us to draw up an excellent proposal which was selected for funding by Bpifrance (formerly Oséo).
We then supported the fast-growing company in drawing up its national collaborative ROMEO project with SMEs and robotics research laboratories, submitting a successful application for government funding (6th call for proposals for the Fonds Unique Interministériel).
Aldebaran Robotics obtained nearly €1M which enabled it to launch development of its humanoid robot, Nao.
Nao, 58cm tall, is now the essential programmable humanoid robotics platform for geeks and robotics research laboratories, and is sold in more than 600 universities all over the world. Already in 2007, Nao was adopted for Robocup competitions, replacing Aibo from Sony.