On 31 May 2022, the NATIONAL FINAL of the NAO CHALLENGE 2022, the competition dedicated to schools and humanoid robotics with the aim of disseminating the social potential of service robotics, was held in Genoa at the Fondazione Palazzo Ducale.
The NAO CHALLENGE, organised by Scuola di Robotica, in collaboration with SoftBank Robotics and CampuStore, and dedicated to high schools, tested students’ programming and development skills through the acquisition of technical competences and problem solving abilities.
The NAO Challenge was part of MIUR’s Valorisation of Excellence action.
The challenge posed to the teams was to design solutions for using the NAO humanoid robot for the promotion and enhancement of cultural heritage. The teams realised application projects in which the NAO humanoid robot was programmed to enhance and raise awareness of a cultural and environmental asset. The teams ‘adopted’ and studied the chosen monument, museum or cultural asset, often at a local level, and designed the robot for various uses, from guiding to controlling lights to characters to attract attention and focus on different aspects of the site’s culture.
Through the programming and development of a mechatronic system, the teams created scenarios to optimise the robot’s capabilities. The realisation of the projects was coordinated and supported by the teachers of the participating schools.
As part of the competition, some teams also realised a transversal skills and orientation course that enabled the participating teams to further develop the project prepared for the challenge.
The teams participating in the Finals came from different Italian regions had passed the pre-selections, which were held online.
Juries of experts, made up of professors, PhD students in robotics and artificial intelligence from the University of Genoa, selected the winning team, i.e. the NAONEXUS team from the Liceo Scientifico Alle Stimate high school in Verona.
The Finals were opened by the President of the School of Robotics Emanuele Micheli; Serena Bertolucci, Director of the Fondazione Palazzo Ducale di Genova and Antonio Sgorbissa, robotics teacher at Dibris UNIGE.
During the jury phase, in which the teams presented their projects and their communication and dissemination activities, a hackathon was held whose mission was to programme the robot to dance. But, the fun and collaborative aspect was that the ‘team’ had to consist of three teams present, who did not know each other beforehand. They all collaborated with each other, underlining what the Challenge is all about, collaboration between schools, teachers and students to use coding and robotics to improve people’s quality of life.