The future is Nao at Whitlam Library

Published Monday, 18th July 2016

Mayor Frank Carbone and Leia, the Nao robot.
Mayor Frank Carbone and Leia, the Nao robot.

Nao (pronounced “now”) Humanoid Robots are loveable, interactive and can be personalised – and two will make their home at Whitlam Library, Cabramatta, very soon.

The Library will take delivery in the next few weeks of a “boy” and a “girl” version of the 58cm tall robots so the City’s students and others interested in learning computer coding can do so in a fun and exciting way.

Mayor of Fairfield City Frank Carbone said coding was one of the most in-demand and important skills in the world today and it was important for Council’s Open Libraries to play a role in helping to enhance the skills of our community.

“Every website, smartphone app, and computer program relies on code in order to operate,” Mayor Carbone said. “The Nao robots can be coded to perform different tasks, and to respond in certain ways, so it allows people to learn coding in a fun way.”

The robots build on the Open Libraries’ program, which is delivering Council’s commitment to revolutionise the way our community accesses information and services in all Fairfield City libraries. They will be used to support student learning and development, particularly their STEM skills (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), which are needed to drive innovation in our fast-changing global economy.

The robots also have a fun factor to make the educational experience engaging.

“They can be programmed to run, deliver and entertain the community via a number of activities, such as dancing,” Mayor Carbone said. “The library could hold dancing competitions between the two robots to showcase the best code.

“They can also be programmed to meet and greet library customers, assist community members find books, and act as the public face of particular services and events. For instance, they could be programmed to conduct a storytime session and read a book to a group of small children.”

Another exciting feature was that the robots could be coded to speak other languages.

“The robots can be programmed to communicate in any community language,” Mayor Carbone said. “This would allow the library to deliver programs and services in the community’s preferred languages.

“The robots are going to be very valuable assets not only for Whitlam Library, but also the entire community,” Mayor Carbone said.

The boy and girl Nao robots, which are expected to arrive within weeks, have not been named. People wishing to suggest a name should email libraryenquiries@fairfieldcity.nsw.gov.au with “Name our Robots” in the subject line.