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China Unicom’s Robot Spreads 3G Awareness

This cute robot developed by China Unicom appeared late September through early October during the 2011 China Int’l Information and Communication Exhibition.  Simply called “Waiter”, it could be controlled via iPad and was seen accompanied by the similar Hai Bao (built by researchers at Zhejiang University; it’s unclear if they also worked on this one).  The robots helped to promote a variety of 3G applications, including mobile internet, cloud computing, mobile intelligent terminals, and home networks.

Along with the two screens (one to display an animated face, and the other for promotional material) the robot appears to have at least two cameras and a laser range finder.  According to various Chinese news sources, the robot was able to recognize when people smiled or nodded their heads as it explained the company’s 3G services.  It was also able to respond to simple phrases, questions, and commands such as “hello” and “dance”.

According to China Unicom, the cost of developing the robot was significantly reduced by piping its image and speech recognition through a wireless network rather than processing everything on board it.  These mobile kiosks are hardly technological breakthroughs, but they show the Chinese appetite for robots is on the rise (perhaps due to those demonstrated during the popular Shanghai World Expo).  A few more photos follow after the break.

[source: Zdnet (CN)]

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