The NAO humanoid robot at the college’s Centre for Applied Science was purchased with funding from the Pat Allsop Charitable Trust, a charity set up by property firm Allsop.
The robot has full body motion and the walking speed of a two-year-old child. It has cameras fitted with facial and object recognition along with speech recognition and sound localisation.
Standing just under 2ft high, it can be programmed to move and talk and will be used by Engineering Level 3 Diploma students to complete an Autonomous Mobile Robotics unit.
Engineering student Theron White, 18, said: “Having the robot in class is really exciting. We’ve had a demonstration on how it moves and interacts with other people and checks its surroundings. It’s amazing what it can do and I’m looking forward to using it in lessons. I’m really into robotics and programming, so this is right up my street.
“The course has been really good and I’ve loved the different units we’ve been studying. the robot is going to broaden our horizons and help us learn more about AI and other aspects of engineering. The teachers are very hands on. They have an easy way of explaining things and been very supportive.”
NAO robots were originally developed by Aldebaran Robotics, which was acquired by SoftBank Group in 2015 and rebranded as Softbank Robotics. The robots have been used in research, education and healthcare worldwide.
Catherine Quinn, Head of School for Science, Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM), said: “We were absolutely thrilled to receive such a kind and generous donation by the Pat Allsop Charitable Trust.
“The NAO robot is a fantastic addition to our great engineering workshops and facilities at CANDI and will support our students with the robotics element of their course, which will provide them with the skills and knowledge they need for university and their future careers.”
The Pat Allsop Charitable Trust has previously provided funding for UrbanPlan workshops at schools and colleges, which included a session on urban regeneration with CANDI students in March 2019.
Scott Tyler, Senior Partner and Trustee of the Pat Allsop Charitable Trust, said: “We were really pleased to be able to make a donation from the Pat Allsop Charitable Trust to City and Islington College.
“We are delighted and intrigued at the news that the funds have been used to purchase a working robot. We would love to see it in action and look forward to continuing our relationship with the college.”