SoftBank Robotics documentation What's new in NAOqi 2.8?

Interacting with NAO

Talking with NAO


Autonomous Life: Activated - Basic Channel: Installed

To chat with NAO:

Step Action

Get close enough, and make sure NAO has seen you.

NAO will detect your presence if you approach within five feet (1.5 meter).

For further details, see: How NAO detects humans.

Check if NAO is listening, his eyes should be rotating blue.

For further details, see: How I know NAO is listening.

Say a short sentence, in one go.

Pauses are interpreted as the end of the sentence, so do not hesitate: speak loud and clear, without hesitation.

For further details, see: Basic Channel - What can I say to NAO.


  • What can I say?

    See: Basic Channel - What can I say to NAO.

  • NAO says nothing, why?

    If NAO has not understood what you said, he starts listening again.

    ... Repeat louder or try another sentence.

  • NAO starts talking before I finished, why?

    Pauses are interpreted as the end of the sentence.

    ... Speak loud and clear, without hesitation.

  • NAO doesn’t listen, what can I do?

    ... Get close enough, in front of him, try to catch his gaze.

Understanding interaction

How NAO detects humans

NAO tries, as much as possible, to establish and keep eye contact with people around.

To do so, NAO:

Step Action
A Looks in the direction of any detected stimulus - sound, movement, touch.

Checks if this stimulus may correspond to a human.

  • If a human is detected, NAO‘s eyes turn to pink eyelashes for a moment, and he tries to keep eye contact with him/her,
  • If not, NAO goes back to his previous occupation.


NAO does not react to new stimulus:

  • When processing a stimulus (i.e. checking if it corresponds to a human).

    NAO does not react to other stimuli until he has finished to process the first one.

  • When engaged in an Activity or a Dialog.

    When NAO is chatting with a human, he always keeps tracking the human until the human has left.

    When NAO is in the middle of an Activity, all his actions are exclusively defined by the Activity itself.

How I know NAO is listening

To make sure NAO is listening, check his eye LEDs, and pay attention to the slight “blip” sounds.

Eye LEDs feedback

When the eye LEDs are ... NAO is ...
Blue, rotating listening.
White with pink eyelashes seeing a human.
White or pale blue not listening, the dialog has not started.

Sound feedback

Additionally, slight “bilip” sounds can be heard when NAO starts and stops listening:

  • when starting listening, the sound is ascending,
  • when stopping the sound is descending.