On September 18th, the Beijing Institute of Technology opened a “technology and life” exhibition at the Chinese Museum of Science and Technology (CMST) displaying a new pair of humanoid robots they have developed, named BeiBei (贝贝) and JingJing (晶晶). BIT previously made headlines around the world circa 2005 with BHR-2 (Beijing Humanoid Robots) that could perform more than 100 t’ai chi ch’uan (shadow boxing) moves.
The appropriately named BeiBei & JingJing have retained all the tai chi moves from their predecessors, but as the next generation improve the mechanical design and properties. The robots stand approximately 165cm (5’4″) tall and weigh 65kg (143 lbs) apiece. The robots interacted with a crowd of bystanders through simple conversation, as children eagerly stepped up to the microphone to ask them questions such as, “What are you?” to which the robot replied,”I am a Humanoid Robot”. When asked if it could think on its own, the robot replied,”My brain is a computer that can think”. Finally, when an old man praised the robot for being funny, it replied,”Thank you. You are too,” prompting laughter from the crowd.
Professor Duan Xingguang said that they will continue to improve the robots’ functionality and reliability while striving to lower production costs. He also compared the current state of robotics technology to that of personal computers three decades ago, and expects Moore’s Law will lead to breakthroughs allowing humanoid robots to become meaningful partners to human beings in the future.
Scott Chang (Flickr)