Researchers at Tehran University, in Iran, unveiled last month an adult-sized humanoid robot called Surena 2.
The initial press reports in Iran’s official news media didn’t include many details, saying only it could “walk like a human being but at a slower pace” and perform some other tasks, and there were questions about the robot’s real capabilities.
IEEE Spectrum obtained more information about Surena, as well as images and videos showing that the robot can indeed walk — and even stand on one leg.
Aghil Yousefi-Koma, a professor of engineering at the University of Tehran who lead the Surena project, tells me that the goal is to explore “both theoretical and experimental aspects of bipedal locomotion.”
The humanoid relies on gyroscopes and accelerometers to remain in balance and move its legs, still very slowly, but Yousefi-Koma says his team is developing a “feedback control system that provides dynamic balance, yielding a much more human-like motion.”
Surena 2, which weighs in at 45 kilograms and is 1.45 meter high, has a total of 22 degrees of freedom: each leg has 6 DOF, each arm 4 DOF, and the head 2 DOF. An operator uses a remote control to make the robot walk and move its arms and head. The robot can also bow. Watch:
Surena doesn’t have the agile arms of Hubo, the powerful legs of Petman, or the charisma of Asimo — but hey, this is only the robot’s second-generation, built by a team of 20 engineers and students in less than two years. A first version of the robot, much simpler, with only 8 DOF, was demonstrated in late 2008.
Yousefi-Koma, who is director of both the Center for Advanced Vehicles (CAV) and the Advanced Dynamic and Control Systems Laboratory (ADCSL) at the University of Tehran, says another goal of the project is to “to demonstrate to students and to the public the excitement of a career in engineering.”
Next the researchers plan to develop speech and vision capabilities and improve the robot’s mobility and dexterity. They also plan to give Surena “a higher level of machine intelligence,” he says, “suitable for various industrial, medical, and household applications.”
The robot was unveiled by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on July 3rd in Tehran as part of the country’s celebration of “Industry and Mine Day.” The robot is a joint project between the Center for Advanced Vehicles and the R&D Society of Iranian Industries and Mines.