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Sunday, May 02, 2010

Robots at the 2010 World Expo

Image: Toyota
The Japan Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo attracted thousands of visitors on Saturday, officials said. At the peak, people waited in line for as long as four hours to gain entry to the pavilion, one of the most popular attractions at the Expo. Visitors said they were impressed by exhibits featuring Japan’s latest robot technologies represented by Toyota's Partner Robot aimed to support people's activities by helping out with nursing and medical care and with housework. Its humanoid form and ability to walk on two legs makes it easier for people accept and bond with. The joints of the hands and arms are coordinated by a sophisticated control mechanism, allowing delicate, human-like movements. As part of the pre-show, the Partner Robot is playing the violin. This virtuoso performance demonstrates the level of Toyota's research and development, which have produced a robot that, in addition to walking on two legs, can accurately finger the violin's strings and move the bow across them to make music.

Chinese Robot Restaurant
At the Shanghai Corporate Joint Pavilion, an eco-building with intelligent technologies, dream-like atmospheres, and interactive experiences, the visitors are welcomed by Performance Robots at the entrance of the pavilion. Inside the pavilion is a brand new "robot restaurant" where all the meals are cooked by an intelligent robot system without any human chefs at all. There is a grand buffet but not free.

Two robots at a restaurant serve dishes from different parts of China for 50 yuan (US$7.33) per person. Four dishes -- chicken cubes in chili sauce, shredded beef with green pepper, sauteed shelled shrimps and shredded meat with beans, are available to visitors. The robots can make 10 dishes every five minutes. A 50 yuan set meal includes two of the four dishes and refreshments in a restaurant seating 50 people. The pavilion invited chefs from different provinces to cook the dishes and every step was programmed into the robots. The chefs found that the dishes made by the robots tasted the same as the ones they had made themselves, according to a staff member in the restaurant. Visitors need only press some buttons to select dishes and the robots collect ingredients, add sauces and seasonings and cook them while diners watch the process.

Haibao Robots
Thirty-seven 1.55-meter tall Haibao robots are helping visitors at the World Expo. The robots have touch screens on their chests to answer inquiries about Expo and transport in six languages, and they can even take photos for visitors. The Haibao robots will be located at Shanghai's two international airports and at the entrances of some major Expo venues.

Infonaut will report directly from the Shanghai World Expo between May 24-27.

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