Sureena Mini: This Iranian Humanoid Sure Can Boogie [video]

Written by Gina Smith

Meet Sureena Mini, the latest humanoid to emerge from the University of Tehran’s robotics lab. She looks like a toy, but don’t let those big camera eyes fool you. She can dance … gina-smith-robot-republic-fake-obama-u-wash— When it comes to robots, researchers at the University of Tehran usually go big — as in complex, nearly life-sized humanoids.

Not this time, though.

Their latest robot,  Sureena Mini, a tiny and toy like. At just 50cm tall and 3.4kg light, she got big round camera eyes and a lithe 3D printed body.

Despite all that cuteness, though, Sureena’s no toy. This little humanoid can walk. She can gesture.

And can she ever dance.

The 20 servomotors embedded in the flexible little robot’s arms, legs and neck are most but not all of what makes the dancing so good, researchers say.

The Intel Core-based robot is also equipped with infrared sensors, speakers and an inertial measurement unit (IMU), they add.

It’s just the right combination for dancing, or so it seems. Check it out:

Speaking to IEEE Spectrum., University of Tehran mechanical engineering professor Aghil Yousefi-Komasaid that Sureena’Mini’s purpose is “to provide researchers and students with a reliable robotic platform for educational and research applications.”

Potential uses include support for special needs children, especially the deaf and autistic, he added.

Sureena Mini vs. Sureena III

If little Sureena’s name sounds familiar to you, that’s because the same lab showed another robot with that name last spring.

Sureena III was a sophisticated life-sized humanoid like the ones U. of Tehran researchers more typically have shown recently. And it was impressive. It could pick up bottles without breaking them, successfully mimic a nearby human’s mannerisms and, maybe most impressively, even stand on one foot.

Researchers say they’re still working on that project, as a way of studying movement and human interaction with robots, two of the biggest robotic challenges going.

But with Sureena Mini, researchers aren’t so much testing robotics as they are testing the market for kid-sized humanoids.

In this, they seem to be taking a page from SoftBank Robotics, which sells the Nao, a RoboCub robot soccer entrant.

Nao and other little robots like it aren’t toys, either. Nao’s been deployed in school’s and children’s hospital, its makers have said.

And they aren’t priced like toys, either.

According to Sureena Mini creator Yousefi-Koma, she’ll set you back some 260 million Iranian smackeroos — that is about $8,200 U.S.

For RobotRepublic, I’m Gina Smith.