The first thoughts of developing Aryan shaped up in June 2001, when I decided to begin constructing an intelligent humanoid robot as a long-term project. I started from the face, due to its tie with AI, particularly vision, and its prominence in social exchange, especially facial expression.
Face project was also my final project for getting bachelor degree in computer hardware engineering. Prof. Cynthia Breazeal, one of the most experienced scientists in developing humanoids (creator of Kismet and major parts of COG), kindly accepted to guide me in this way as my project advisor. We were to explore some robot learning ideas with Aryan.
One year later, in August 2002, I finished my university project, i.e. building the physical face, control and electronic boards and vision plus facial expression software. However, due to my intensive course projects, Aryan's documentation was postponed until 2003.
Unfortunately, essential blocks for developing such a robot were not obtainable in my country at all. For instance Prof. Breazeal suggested using a robot construction kit such as Lego for building the face, but such robot kits are not available in Iran. Similarly, there was no hobby servo motor, no servo control board or no advanced micro controller.
Since I did not have any financial support for this project, I could not order these pars from other countries either. Therefore, I had to develop all of these parts from scratch with very simple components at home and with little personal budget. This reinventing the wheel took most of my time and has not allowed me to add learning so far.
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