Surena III is the third generation of a humanoid robot developed by Iranian experts in the University of Tehran. This 1.9 meters (6 feet 3 inches) robot is able to recognize Persian commands, react to human behavior, climb up and down stairs and walk on rough surfaces.

Robots have always been an obsession for human beings, especially the ones that look like a human and are able to act upon human interactions. This obsession has been depicted in the pop culture. Some robots such as the R2-D2, C-3PO and BB-8 from the Star Wars movies became charming characters for people, as if they really exist in the real world. On the other hand some robots are depicted as an evil intelligent race trying to shape colonies in order to take over the world and reign over humanity! Scary huh? I bet! Could such happen in the real world? I don’t know, but like it or not robots are becoming more and more intelligent day by day and Iranian scientists are taking part in this progress “in the direction of peace and humanity.”

The above quote is from Prof. Aghil Yousefi Koma, the leader of a 70 people team consisting of local experts and engineers in different fields such as mechanics, software and hardware, electronics and designers and researchers who have put thousands of hours in the making of Surena humanoid robot.

Robotics is a fast growing technology and we see rapid advancements in its sector every day. It is expected that in 100 years, robots would surpass human intelligence. Humanoid robots resemble a human body and are able to interact with tools, become a personal assistant or work in many industries such as automotive manufacturing lines with difficult working conditions. These kinds of robots are able to interact with their environment using the sensors embedded in their system. These advanced robots have Actuators (motors) inside in order to make motion and move their artificial body parts. The flexibility of these robots depends on their DOF (Degrees of Freedom), a feature that pretty much affects the movements of the robot to look more human.

Surena I, II and III
Surena I, II and III

Surena is developed by University of Tehran’s Center of Advanced Systems & Technologies (CAST). The first generation of this domestically built robot was developed in 2008 and named Surena I. The robot’s height is 165 centimeters and it weighs 60 kilograms. Surena I had limited capabilities, some of its features is the ability to speak a predefined text and being controlled by a remote and following a track.

The second generation of the robot, Surena II was developed in 2010. Surena II is able to walk slowly and move with 22 degrees of freedom, stand on one leg and dance. The robot also benefits from sensors such as force, pan and tilt, accelerometer and gyroscope. It’s height is 145 centimeters and weighs 45 kilograms.

The successor of the other two robots, Surena III was unveiled recently in mid November 2015. The adult size robot is able to bend backwards while standing on one leg and can imitate human gestures, interact with humans, mimic behavior in a smooth way, act on commands and speak Persian. Surena III benefits from a voice recognition system, skeleton and object recognition. Also, It’s able to climb up and down ramps, climb stairs, walk and run on rough and slippery surfaces and kick a soccer ball. The step length of the robot is up to 50 centimeters and it can keep its balance while walking in 1 km/h speed.

“Iran is one of the only 5 countries in the world that has the technology to build a robot like this.”

Surena III in action
Surena III in action

The third generation of the robot is up to 7 times faster than its previous generation. Surena III weights 98 kilograms and has a height of 1.9 meters serving as one of the tallest humanoid robots in the world . The robot’s hands are also able to grip and grasp objects thanks to its flexible fingers. Users are able to design new scenarios or program the robot using the Software Development Kit (SDK) for Surena III. Iran is one of the only 5 countries in the world that has the technology to build a robot like this.

Some might not consider Surena III a cutting-edge technology while comparing it to a rival suxh as Honda’s ASIMO, but there’s no argue that Surena III is a big leap forward in the development of such humanoid robots in the world. The feasibility for the next generation of the robot, Surena IV has already started and is a work in progress.

Watch the video below to see Sorena III in action.

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