Forget your worries about Iran developing a nuclear bomb, they’ve set their sights on a much more powerful technology: cute walking robots. Last month Tehran University debuted their Surina 2 robot, a bipedal walker with 22 degrees of freedom that can stand on one leg. The robot was greeted by none other than Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during a celebration – the “Day of Industry and Mine”. According to the national news agency, the robot (more likely its successors) could be used to replace humans in ‘sensitive tasks’. A little vague, but promising for the future of robotics in Iran. We’ve got some great videos of Surina 2 for you below, and a look at its predecessor Surina 1 as well. It’s amazing how far Tehran University has come in just a few years.
While I do get excited every time I see a robot able to walk, Iran’s entry into the field isn’t going to shock the world with its capabilities. Surina 2 may look like Honda’s Asimo but it doesn’t have the Japanese bot’s natural walking style, nor its language skills. In fact, I see robots every week that out perform Surina. What makes the Iran robot stand out then, is its location. Iran faces economic sanctions, restricted trade, and other isolating forces but it’s still managed to produce a respectable bipedal robot. That’s pretty amazing. It speaks to the dedication and the skills of the Tehran University researchers who created it. It will be interesting in the years ahead to see if those scientists can maintain their accelerated pace and produce a robot that can compete with ASIMO, Toyota’s biped, HRP-2, and all the others. I don’t think it likely, but I’d be pleasantly surprised if they could pull it off.