Akbar Rezaie‘s praying robot could easily pass for a playful yet thought-provoking postmodern art project, a masterpiece of irony and social critique.
But the metal-and-silicon creature that the 27-year-old Iranian built in his home won’t be showing up in museums anytime soon. It is destined to be purely a prayer instruction device. Rezaie, you see, teaches the Qur’an at an elementary school in Varamin, 20 miles outside the capital of Tehran.
The robot, which prostrates perfectly on a mini prayer rug, is named Veldan, which means “Youth of Heaven.”
Rezaie figured out how to build the devout automaton after taking private robotics classes, eventually using Korean-made robot kits that he customized with extra motors.
Let’s hope that, for the sake of the children he teaches, his enthusiasm for robotics is as contagious as his ardor for Allah.