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In Talks

An Exclusive Chat with Hariharan Bojan,CEO & Founder of Sirena Technologies

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Techmezine: Brief us on Sirena’s journey in India and its products ?

Sirena Technologies was formed with a purpose to bring innovative world-class products to the market; designed and developed in India, leveraging the global ecosystem.

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The company has built the first Indian Humanoid Robot Nino and introduces SKIP (Sirena Knowledge and Information Program) for schools which is crafted to enable students to learn cutting-edge trending technologies which include Humanoids, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Voice Recognition, Computer Vision, Mechatronics, 3D printing, Android programming and more. Sirena Knowledge and the information program (SKIP) introduces students to the Real ‘Robotics and Technology’ world early in their classes while keeping creativity as the core theme. SKIP is a unique comprehensive learning package for students which involves robotic concepts, content and hands-on experience with Robots.

Techmezine:  Please tell us about your Humanoid Robot ?

At Sirena Technologies, there are two key businesses.
1. Education Programs (SKIP and SIR)
SKIP (Sirena Knowledge and Information Program) -> where we set up world-class state-of-the-art Robotc labs for schools and run that as a service.
SIR (Sirena Institute of Robotics) -> Robotics Labs set up through franchises, outside of schools.
The IP in this business is our robots (all kinds) that kids assemble and program, content and curriculum developed by us completely.
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2. Humanoid Robots and Utility Robots
Nino is our 2ft flagship robot designed for education but also used for information sharing etc in other places as well.
Our autonomous wheeled Robots 
Accenture Wheeled Humanoid which is a “Monitoring & Surveillance Assistant ” : Basic Features and Industrial Use Case .
SBI ILA which is “ POS (Point of Sale) Assistant” : Basic Features and Industrial Use Case .
Nina which is a “Visitor Management Assistant” : Basic Features and Industrial Use Case .
Siemens Bot which is “HR Assistant” : Basic Features and Industrial Use Case.
Sirena Bot which “Teaching Assistant” : Basic Features and Industrial Use Case.

Techmezine:     What are the main challenges today for Humanoid design  ?
I believe, from my experience, the following are the challenges for companies trying to manufacture Robots.

The knowledge level in the Robotics space as such is very low in the country.
 Robotics involves mechanical, mechatronics, control systems – dynamics, kinematics, electronics, embedded software, cloud and AI algorithms. To find the right combination of resources to build any kind of robot is extremely challenging.
The over-cost for any Robot becomes very expensive as it involves heavy R&D and finally the cost of the servo motors makes it way too expensive. There are not too many companies which make servo motors in the world and therefore this remains the major cost (70% of the total bot cost) for any robot production. The import duty on such servo motors is also very high and makes the final product unaffordable.
The next key challenge is battery technology. But, given the electric vehicles market starting to come up, battery technology is coming together in India. But still early days. We need more “make in india” options which would improve overall quality and bring down cost significantly.
The next challenge is in the plastics/sheet metals and material availability. The technology to build such big moulds is not available in India. Whoever has that ability, the cost again is extremely expensive. The alternatives for this are not available in India. China provides way better options for this.
Any mass production of Robots is capital intensive. Unless there’s support from the government, it’s almost impossible to set up manufacturing plants for robots. For example, we do most of the Robot assembly manually and that, on an average, takes three days for one person to assemble one bot.
Overall, the Robotics space, be it education bots, corporates/banks bots, humanoids, industrial robots need a complete ecosystem to improve the quality, efficiency and finally bring down the cost. That ecosystem does not exist in India at the moment. Companies like ours have our own little ecosystem and are serving a really small market at the moment.

Techmezine:      Please share more details on your “Nino” India’s 1st Educational Robot ?
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Nino is a humanoid that can talk, walk, dance, sing, play and work wonders with its inherently built intelligence. For each concept that a teacher covers in her classroom, Nino has a set of innovative, developmentally appropriate, hands-on, experiential and interactive activities, stories, poems and projects that can be used to introduce, strengthen, summarize and assess concepts. On one hand, Nino acts as an assistant-teacher and on the other, it works with each child as a buddy.Nino is also a part of SKIP, Sirena Knowledge and information Program that primarily focuses upon teaching all you kids about technology by implementing robotics lab setup in your schools acquired with the most creative robotics projects to bring curiosity for further learning.
With Neural Network, Artificial Intelligence, ASR, text to speech solution… Nino is evolving everyday.

Techmezine:    What is the sensor, battery, and controller technology behind Nino ?

Basic Features –

  • –  Height: 1.5 ft
    –  Weight: ~5 kg
    –  Smart Motors
    –  Android with Cloud Support
    –  Touch sensor
    –  IMU
    –  IR sensor
    –  Bluetooth/Wi-Fi Compatible App
    –  Colour Camera
    –  Far field echo cancelled microphones
    –  Speakers
    –  Lithium Ion Battery Packs
    –  Complete Plastic Body
    –  18V, 20A SMPS
    –  Smart LCD indication, Multiple emotions

Techmezine:      What does the future of the Robotics industry look like, post Covid19 ?

In just the past few years, for example, we’ve seen a small number of companies building and selling AI-enabled robots to pick things out of bins, handle parts, tend machines, and test the latest electronics. Well, there is a lot of curiosity in this space ever since Tesla has announced their Humanoid launch. Honestly,  we see huge potential for Humanoid robots in research and space exploration, personal assistance and caregiving, education and entertainment, search and rescue, manufacturing and maintenance, public relations, and healthcare. As per International Federation of Robotics, the average ratio of robots to employees in India is 25 percent lesser compared to that of global statistics. With so much uncertainty looming around us, now is the perfect time to surge into AI and take bold, competitive transformative actions to significantly manage the crisis.

Techmezine:      What is your focus for Year 2022-23 ? Any new launch expected soon ?

 

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Our focus for 2022-23 is building a 3Fft tall humanoid that can mimic human walk and other intelligence. The new version of Nino-T will be a social robot that will soon be deployed in various spaces like schools, restaurants, shopping malls, airports, offices, training centres etc. The design process behind making Nino-T is to enhance people’s lives by bringing a robot that can talk to them, assist them and help in accomplishing simple, redundant tasks. Stay tuned for the magic!

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