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World Robot Conference showcases dazzling future

(chinadaily.com.cn) Updated: 2023-08-25


A robotic surgeon operates during the World Robot Conference 2023 in Beijing on Aug 18. TANG KE/FOR CHINA DAILY

Tech to bring humans into intelligent era, boosting global economic growth

BEIJING — Humanoid robots with the appearance of China's Tang Dynasty (618-907) poets Li Bai and Du Fu were a hit at the World Robot Conference 2023.

"Their bodies and expressions look natural. They simulate the voices and actions of real people and interact with the audience. They have already been utilized in many fields including culture, tourism and education," said Zheng Yaxin, an executive with EX Robots.

The seven-day event began on August 16 in Beijing, featuring around 160 robot enterprises from around the world. These companies showcased nearly 600 sets of robots, with 60 of them making their global debut at the event.

Xin Guobin, vice-minister of industry and information technology, said, "The robot industry represents advanced manufacturing and is leading human society to an intelligent era, boosting world economic development and improving the well-being of mankind."

According to the International Federation of Robotics, the global installed capacity of industrial robots in 2022 registered a record high of 531,000 units. The economies in North America, Asia and Europe have integrated robots into social life, demonstrating their remarkable vitality.

In the exhibition areas of Realman Intelligent Technology (Beijing) Co Ltd at the WRC, many visitors experienced a robot massage, which relaxes back and shoulder muscles.

"The robot's visual sensor can identify people's physical characteristics. It then uses this information to generate the massage trajectory. With proper control of pressure and temperature, the robot arm conducts the massage," said Chao Jiaqi, marketing director of Realman Intelligent Technology (Beijing).

Chao added, "Realman has suppliers and distributors in many countries including Germany, Japan and the United States. We also have close cooperative relations with Sony and Siemens."

Chee Fai Tan, president of the ASEAN Confederation of Smart Industry, said that robots can carry out high-precision work while simultaneously improving productivity. It has been widely applied in manufacturing and agriculture to aid the lives of many people.

A multi-arm fruit-picking robot was also eye-catching at the WRC, which enabled the audience to have a direct understanding of modern and intelligent agricultural development.

"The robot arm and fruit-picking devices are capable of automatically picking and storing 400 to 500 pieces of fruit per hour. To enhance efficiency, it works round the clock and can minimize fruit damage significantly," said Li Tao, a staffer with the research project of the multi-arm fruit-picking robot.

The robot, which has been applied in Beijing and East China's Shandong province, plans to further expand to overseas markets like the United States and Australia, Li noted.

Swiss technology and engineering firm ABB Group showcased its collaborative robot arm at the conference. Du Haiquan, a sales consultant with ABB, said: "China has huge market potential. The ABB factory in Shanghai is set to provide quality products with advanced technologies for the Chinese market and the Asian-Pacific region."

Jose Vieira, president of the World Federation of Engineering Organizations, also emphasized the importance of coordinated development of countries around the world.

"We are delighted to see the robot industry contribute to a sustainable future," Vieira said.

"The robot industry will continue to make breakthroughs in more scenarios and bring benefits to our people," said Chen Ying, secretary-general of the Chinese Institute of Electronics.

In 2022, the operating income of China's robot industry exceeded 170 billion yuan ($23.3 billion). Xin noted, "Robots should play a vital role in resolving common challenges in this world, such as climate change, healthcare and food security, to make more people worldwide live a better life in the future."