A gallery of unusual Chinese robots

Summary:Chinese engineers have unveiled a series of strange robots these days. In this photo gallery, you'll find robots acting as restaurant waiters or pulling rickshaws. You'll also see a four-finger robotic hand able to play organ, a female robot greeting tourists visiting the Sichuan Science Museum , and even a robotic chimpanzee.

Chinese engineers have unveiled a series of robots these days -- without releasing lots of technical details about them. In the past two months, I've gathered pictures of robots which can act as waiters in restaurants in Hong Kong or pull rickshaws near Beijing. I've also found a four-finger robotic hand able to play organ, a female robot greeting tourists visiting the Sichuan Science Museum with 'ni hao' ('How are you?' in Mandarin -- if my sources are correct), and even a robotic chimpanzee. Please visit my photo gallery...

Let's start with a robot waiter which takes orders in the first robot restaurant that opened in Hongkong last month (Credit: People's Daily Online, China, July 18, 2006).

First robot restaurant in Hongkong

But what about a robot pulling a rickshaw? This 1.8-meter-high silver robot and weighs 150 kilograms. It has been built from recycled materials by its developer, Wu Yulu, a 44-year-old farmer. For example, "the robot's eyes were made of ping-pong balls and its mouth out of sponges." (Credit: Jia Hepeng, China Daily, July 30, 2006)

Robot pulling a rickshaw

In the mean time, "a four-finger robot hand was co-devised by Harbin Institute of Technology and German Aerospace Center, which consists of thirteen movable parts and can accomplish multiple sense-and-action functions." Below is a picture of this robotic hand playing organ (Credit: Xinhuanet, via China Economic Net, June 28, 2006).

Robotic hand playing organ

And ten days ago, the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing unveiled Rong Cheng, a female robot which acts as a tour guide (Credit: AP, via China Daily, China, August 6, 2006).

Female robot and tour guide

You'll find some more details about Rong Cheng in "Robot Chinese beauty which says 'ni hao' to tourists" (Credit: Xinhua, via The Electric New Paper, Singapore, August 9, 2006). "Standing tall at 1.7m and weighing about 60kg, Rong Cheng can interact with people by responding to comments. For example, if someone tells her how pretty she looks, she responds by saying: 'Thank you. You're pretty too.'

Finally, here is a robot chimpanzee developed by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Credit: Chinanews.cn, via China Economic Net, August 14, 2006). What's its use? I don't know.

A robot chimpanzee

I hope you've enjoyed this photo gallery of Chinese robots. My preferred one is the rickshaw puller. What's yours?

Sources: Various Chinese web sites

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Topics: Emerging Tech

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