Manufacturing News

Robotics takes center stage at this year's CIFTIS

Robots of various hues and shapes dot the landscape at the ongoing China International Fair for Trade in Services in Beijing, as Chinese tech companies showcase their latest cutting-edge technologies at the nation's first major offline international trade event since the COVID-19 outbreak.

At the entrance of the exhibition hall, visitors are greeted by a group of robots developed by Beijing Orion Star Technology Co Ltd, a Chinese robotics company. Equipped with screens, the robots can offer guidance on exhibition routes, answer questions via voice interaction, take visitors to the destinations they are heading to, and offer detailed information on upcoming forums at the exhibition.

Cao Peili, vice-president of Orion Star, said nearly 30 robots have been used to offer services to the CIFTIS. In addition to robots that greet visitors, the company has also deployed robots that can move around, and visitors can buy products from the robots just as they do from vending machines.

"The CIFTIS offers a good platform for tech companies to display their latest products and visitors can gain firsthand experience on how these products work," Cao said.

Beijing Orion Star Technology Co Ltd, which counts Chinese tech company Cheetah Mobile Inc among its key investors, has already deployed more than 10,000 robots at multiple locations such as shopping malls, office buildings, and medical institutions, to serve people.

At the CIFTIS, a humanoid robot named Walker has been garnering raves. The robot, developed by the Shenzhen-based tech company UBTech, has a torso, arms, hands, and a head, and is as humanoid as bipedal robots can get.

Tan Min, chief branding officer of UBTech, said Walker can be an agile smart companion for family members in the future. At 1.45 meters, Walker has hands that can grasp and manipulate objects. Its torso is also refined with improved self-balancing, and the robot has a string of high-performance actuators and a full range of sensing systems that work together to ensure smooth and fast walking in a home environment.

"Walker can do household chores such as watering flowers. And it can also play football with humans," Tan said, adding that the robot also has vision, touch and voice, which can enable it to do functions, such as using its hands to pour a bottle of Coke into a glass for people.

At the CIFTIS which began on Friday and will continue through Wednesday, other Chinese robotics manufacturers have also showcased their latest robots which can offer medical advice, deliver medicines, guide patients, measure patients' temperature, and disinfect wards in hospitals.

Bi Yalei, secretary-general of the Shenzhen Robotics Association, said earlier that robots have played a positive role in helping fight the COVID-19 pandemic and people are getting more comfortable with these new technologies.

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