New Era is a Russian company founded in 1993 from the ashes of Era, a Soviet-era enterprise that manufactured and repaired electrical equipment for the ships of the Baltic Fleet. In 2001, together with students of St. Petersburg State Polytechnical University, they began work on Russia’s first humanoid robots: Arne and Arnea (Anthropomorphic Robot of New Era).
They debuted in 2003 (ranking 11th of more than 100 competitors at RoboCup held in Padua, Italy, that year). Arne and Arnea are male and female, respectively, though the only difference is color: Arne is blue and Arnea is red (similar to KIST’s Mahru and Ahra). The body consists of 28 degrees of freedom: 6 in each leg, 5 in each arm, 2 in each hand, and 2 in the head/neck.
Standing at 4ft (123cm) tall with a weight of 119lbs (54kg), they are capable of walking independently and avoiding obstacles, distinguishing and remembering objects and colors, and can follow up to 40 separate voice commands. They are also capable of speaking prerecorded diagnostic messages in a synthesized robot voice (e.g. in the case of malfunction).
Arne & Arnea have unfortunately disappeared from public view since their appearance at RoboCup 2003. Limited exposure in the media has led to few photographs of the robots, and virtually no video of them in action can be found online. Likewise, the status of these magnificent-looking Russian creations is unknown. The general director of New Era made a statement at the time, that more than 5 new robots would be developed by 2013 with New Era investing approximately $10 million dollars. However, no new appearances by New Era at RoboCup suggest this plan has been scrapped.
- St.Petersburg State Polytechnical University (RU)
- New Era (official site RU)
- Arne & Arnea @ BBC Russia (RU)
- Arne development article (RU)