The China (Shanghai) International Robot Exhibition 2012 (CIROS 2012) got underway yesterday, and some photos from the event have been trickling onto the web. Although most of the robots on the 20,000 square meter show floor are industrial in nature, there are a few human-friendly examples on display. Guangzhou CNC Equipment Co., Ltd. (GSK)’s industrial robot arm, for example, can be seen drawing pictures of Pandas. The so-called civilian area of the expo is proving much more popular thanks to robots like Aldebaran Robotics’ NAO, MiniRobot’s Metal Fighter hobby kits, a Mars rover by Shanghai Jiaotong University, and Grandar Robotics’ Home Education Robot (photo below).
Unis is showing off the ILU-ROBO, the PaPeRo rip-off, which reacts differently depending on where you touch it thanks to eight sensors. If you pat it hard on the head the robot pleads, “Don’t bully me!” and when touched elsewhere it explains matter-of-factly, “No need to scratch my itch”.
The robot (which is available in many bright colors) is intended for children 12 and younger and has a variety of functions including singing, dancing, storytelling, and English lessons. According to the company the robot has sold approximately 10,000 units since it went on sale last year and is relatively cheap (at only 3,000 yuan [$475 USD]) thanks to the scale of its production. It also helps that NEC did the design work and paid for the molds…
Shanghai’s Future Partner Robotics Company presented a “welcome robot” that looks related to Grandar’s household robot, but it stands as tall as an average woman. This general service robot can answer questions and provide information through a touchscreen in its chest.
When asked if it is a boy or girl, the skirt-shaped robot responds, “I am a girl, can’t you see? Am I not beautiful?” A company rep says the robot comes loaded with a 16 GB hard disk (which I am guessing is actually just a memory card) that can alter its program and functions to work in a variety of settings, such as museums. It also has a face recognition function that allows it to reference individuals by name after they have registered with it.
It’s not all good news for Chinese robotics companies, as the robotic cooking machines presented last year have already been retired in their test locations. Chinese experts say that the era of complex mechanized cooking is still a ways off, as the robot was only able to prepare simple stir-fry meals. To make matters worse, it still required humans to help prepare some of the ingredients, such as chopping the vegetables.