On December 14th of 2019, the fourth generation of Iranian humanoid robots named Surena IV (Surena 4) was unveiled. The robot has been developed in CAST (Center of Advanced Systems and Technologies at the University of Tehran, Iran) by more than 50 researchers under the supervision of Dr. Aghil Yousefi-Koma, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Tehran.
The performance included both upper and lower body motions, interaction with a host, and speech. The project is funded by the presidential deputy for science and technology, and it is considered as the symbol of technology advancement in the direction of peace and humanity with the goal of designing an appropriate research platform, more developed than previous versions. The first version of the humanoid robot (Surena I, 2008) had only 8 degrees of freedom (DoF), and the second one (Surena II, 2010) had 22 DoF with a walking speed of 0.11 kilometers per hour. Compared to the third generation (Surena III, 2015), which had 31 DoF, the new adult-sized Humanoid robot has 43 DoF and higher dexterity in the hands, making it able to make hand gestures and grip different objects with different shapes. Surena IV is 1.7 meters tall and has a mass of 68 kilograms; it is much lighter and smaller than Surena III (98 kilograms and 1.9 meters tall) due to the better structure design based on topology optimization and compact customized actuator design. In the new generation, the control loop frequency has been increased to 200 Hz by exploiting FPGA board, making it possible to implement online controllers and estimators.
Utilizing Robot Operation System (ROS), state monitoring, real-time implementation of algorithms, and simultaneous running of several programs has become straightforward. Improving the robot- interaction with the environment was one of the main goals in the Surena IV project. The robot has the abilities of face detection and counting, object detection and position measurement, activity detection, speech recognition (speech to text), and speech generation (text to speech), resulting in a better voice user interface. Online grip, face and object follow, and action imitation have been implemented by combining the AI abilities and whole-body motion planning. While the mean speed of Surena III was 0.3 kilometers per hour, Surena IV can walk continuously with a speed of 0.7 kilometers per hour, thanks to the dynamic motion of its center of mass and online controllers. The robot can walk on uneven terrain using novel contact sensors in its sole. The researchers at CAST have developed online contact controllers to adjust the angle and position of the foot during stepping. Gazebo, Choreonoid, and MATLAB have been used to simulate the motion of the robot and evaluate different scenarios, including upper body and lower body motions (e.g., side walking, backward walking, turning around, and push recovery).
Dec 15th, 2019, — CAST team