Humanoid service robot is showcased in Berlin
September 5, 2016 by Nancy Owano
(Tech Xplore)—Off in the not so distant future one can hear the march of the humanoid robots, ready to lend an everyday presence in many retail shops and home services. Qihan is a company that's making some noise in that direction.
The company recently unveiled their Sanbot robots at the IFA electronics show in Berlin. Tereza Pultarova in Engineering and Technology Magazine had a report on Sanbot as well as other sites covering the intro.
"The plucky little robot has flipper arms, a pair of wheels for feet and a body chock full of various sensors to help it perform a factotum of different jobs, from security guard to nursing home companion to educational assistant," wrote Brian Heater, hardware editor, TechCrunch.
(In retail settings it could propel itself over to customers, telling them pitches including words like "buy one, get one free," or "scan and you get a special gift," or "limited time offer," etc.)
Reuters said it has front and rear cameras, a microphone, display screen, and 360-degree rotating wheels.
What about charging? The Sanbot site described the product as an auto self-recharging robot. The notes said it can find its charger to be recharging itself. "The metal plate on the charger is safe in non-working status. It will trigger up the "ON" status for Sanbot while the robot sends out the "POWER UP" instruction within 50cm distance." The safety standard is met by 19V AC, according to the site.
Pultarova said the company has given Sanbot a simple open architecture and the makers were hoping to win over the service sector. ("An open approach, Qihan hopes, will help Sanbot penetrate the many target industries its makers aim for.")
The application programming interface is open to all. Qihan made the API publicly available for developers to build new applications. Reuters quoted Luo as saying that they would like to invite developers to join them to offer more services in retail, education, hotel, security and industry, for the future.
Pultarova said Sanbot was already up and about on the job in China. It was guiding travellers through Shenzhen Airport.
The primary software runs on a private cloud server. The robot has to be connected to its cloud server through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. The secondary software has the tailored apps. A user's smartphone app controls it.
Hi, I'm Sanbot: The robot talked to the world in a video posted on Friday. The robot said it is very clever, and has eyes that can always recognize family and friends, can follow a person's footsteps, turn on lights, and behave as a family security guard.
The video notes said "A new humanoid robot named Sanbot developed by a Chinese company hopes to take the service sector by storm. It can work as a shop keeper, waiter, teaching assistant, security guard or a smart home manager and personal assistant."
"I have strong safety consciousness." Sanbot said it can detect strangers immediately.
The Sanbot site said the robot is a reliable guard when you are away from home in that It will send out an alert if strangers break in or in case of a fire inside. The site also said that Sanbot will take pictures of the stranger and upload it to the cloud.
Sanbot hardly looks like a menacing guard but that is not the point; it is designed to be dependable and act promptly. "People sometimes say I am too chubby to be a security guard," Sanbot said, "but I am pretty nimble."
Reuters said Sanbot goes on sale in Europe in October and in the US next year.
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