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Shanghai Daily: Smart robots to the rescue


By Liang Yiwen
Selected from: Shanghai Daily, November 11, 2010



Visitors are attracted by robot arms which are playing with a magic cube at the China International Industry Fair 2010, ending last Saturday in Shanghai. — Zhang Suoqing



An exhibitor demonstrates a robot developed by Shanghai Jiao Tong University that can help old people. — Zhang Suoqing



AS China’s aging population grows quickly many university researchers are developing intelligent robots which can take on the role of a nurse or caregiver such as taking care of the elderly, keeping them company and even accompanying them to see a doctor or shopping with them.

Some of the latest achievements were displayed at the China International Industry Fair 2010, which ended last Saturday in Shanghai.


Shanghai Dianji University demonstrated a future apartment model staffed with home service robots. A robotic health carer, strikingly similar to Eva in the movie WALL-E, can take people’s heartbeat and blood pressure. It can also help the aged or the handicapped to get food, water and medicines, based on voice instructions.


Another robot with mechanical arms can play the piano according to a digital music score. Another can help a paralyzed person turn around, curl or extend his legs and help him to sit, after receiving instructions via voice, remote control or a touch screen device.


A home service robot costs about 400,000 yuan (US$60,300) but mass production and improvement in technology will be able to cut the price down to 150,000 yuan, researchers said.


A robot developed by Shanghai Jiao Tong University could help an aged person see a doctor or shop in a supermarket.


Based on face recognition technology the robot, for example, can greet the patient at the entrance of a hospital or chat with people. The robot can help find the best route by studying digital maps built into its body and guide visitors to their destination.


“They can also detect obstacles in the way and make a detour,”said Liu Zhe, a graduate student and researcher at the university’s institute for robotics and intelligent information processing.


A group of 58 domestic and overseas universities showed 483 scientific and technological achievements.


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