Chengdu Universiade ends with humanoid robots staging extravaganza

It's not the first time UBTech's humanoids have performed in front of international audience. They have been featured several times in official ceremonies of major sporting events to entertain the viewers and also showcase China's tech prowess.

Humanoid robots that can dance, act in unison and move around on a self-balancing scooter were at the center of media spotlight at the closing ceremony of Chengdu Universiade 2023 last evening.

Chinese media reported that this is the first time humanoids were employed as “performers” at the closing ceremony of a world sports event.

UBTech (优必选), a Shenzhen-headquartered humanoid robot developer, deployed its iconic Walker X and Panda bipeds to the venue of the closing ceremony.

Walker X rolled onto the stage before piloting itself halfway across to one end of an illuminated wall made of 15 mobile screens.

As it waved its hand gently past the screens, a yellowed ink painting from the Song Dynasty (960-1279) showed.

Within seconds, the painting faded out and a picture of modern Chengdu, the host city of the Games, came into view.

The appearance of Walker X was followed by the group dance of four Panda robots.

They passed along pinwheels among them and danced according to a pre-choreographed script.

It’s not the first time UBTech’s humanoids have performed in front of an international audience.

They have been featured several times in official ceremonies of major sporting events to entertain the viewers and also showcase China’s tech prowess.

The most challenging part of the robotic performance lies in the synchronization and coordination of the robots’ movement, said UBTech.

Each Panda biped was programmed to walk 20 m, entered and left the stage and changed their formation — all within one minute.

UBTech revealed to media that several of the firm’s core technologies, including force control, motion algorithm optimization, high-precision positioning and stable gait control, were utilized to ensure the robots functioned as planned.

The Shenzhen company has been a domestic pioneer in the domain of humanoid robotics, and is now in the process of pursuing a listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

However, it has long drawn flak over the some 2.4 billion yuan (US$333 million) it recorded in the space of just three years, signaling the shared monetization conundrum confronting many humanoid robot developers.

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Ni Tao

Ni Tao is the founder and editor-in-chief of cnrobopedia. Prior to cnrobopedia, he had a full decade of experience with a major state-run English-language newspaper as a tech reporter and opinion writer. He is also a communications specialist, having provided consultancy services to established firms like Siemens, Philips, ABinBev, Diageo, Group (Nasdaq: TCOM, HK: 9961), Jianpu Technology (NYSE: JT) and a handful of domestic startups. A graduate of Fudan University, he writes widely about China's business and tech scenes and other topics for global publications including South China Morning Post, SupChina, The Diplomat, CGTN, Banking Technology, among others, and tries to impart his experience to students at Fudan University Journalism School, where he is a part-time lecturer. When he's not writing about robotics, you can expect him to be on his beloved Yanagisawa saxophones, trying to play some jazz riffs, often in vain and occasionally against the protests of an angry neighbor. Get in touch with him by dropping a line at

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