Of bots and droids: A glimpse of robots shining at the Chengdu Universiade

Robots, which are known for fancy movement and versatile functions, are a natural fixture at various venues during the sports event.

At the ongoing 2023 Summer Universiade in Chengdu, tech firms from southwestern China’s Sichuan and beyond have taken the opportunity to showcase their technologies.

Robots, which are known for fancy movement and versatile functions, are a natural fixture at various venues during the sports event.

Chinese media reports have highlighted five of them, with their applications ranging from medical first aid to catering service. Let’s check out what they can do and what’s so special about them.

Rongbao mobile robot

Rongbao, a mobile robot named after the panda mascot of the Universiade games, is reportedly the world’s first service robot that comes with an automated external defibrillator (AED).

All photos sourced from Chinese media

With a roly-poly shape and big bright “eyes,” the black-and-white, panda-shaped gadget will come to the rescue of victims of heart attack and seizure.

Developed by a local tech firm, Rongbao navigates autonomously on optimal routes within sports venues, delivering AED and other first aid gear where necessary.

According to the company behind Rongbao, in the case of a medical emergency, Rongbao will move at 1.2 m per second to the designated spot. Upon arriving, a front-mounted screen automatically plays video showing how to use the AED.

With a built-in camera, first aid personnel on the spot can consult doctors remotely to apply first aid more efficiently.

Other than being a lifesaver, Rongbao also acts as a guide, interpreter and concierge, showing visitors the way and presenting medals.

Table tennis coaching robot

Hard to find a buddy to practice table tennis with?

A table tennis training robot can help. Installed at the sports center of Chengdu High-Tech Industrial Development Zone, it never tires or complains about your skills.

Mounted on a ping pong table, it can imitate movements such as serving and hitting a ball. The robot is designed to train a player’s ability to predict and react to a ball’s trejactory.

It also can determine a ball’s speed, spin and bounce. The robot’s core system is able to replicate 22 movements of ping pong training and record the play to establish a data analytical model. This enables players to examine the game and improve their technical prowess.

Therefore, users can customize a training session with the help of the robot depending on their needs.

Dual arm coffee-making robot

In the welcome center and athletes’ canteen at the Universiade Village of Chengdu, a dual arm robot has attracted hordes of student athletes to stop to take a look and even take selfies with it.

The robot is a coffeemaker that is on duty 24 hours, seven days a week. It is capable of brewing six to 10 types of coffee, thanks to a pair of arms designed to perform fine movements like latte art.

Their agility is such that it is even on par with the technical sophistication of seasoned baristas, Chinese media reported.

Among the patterns of creamy foam topping the drinks is one of the Chengdu Universiade insignia, a limited edition.

Unmanned cooking and vending robot

Feeling hungry late into the night and desperate to find an eatery within the Universiade Village?

That’s not an issue now that a smart robot-assisted eatery is now put into use in the village.

A robot within the canteen provides 24/7 services and dishes out food like glutinous rice dumplings and wontons two minutes after receiving an order.

According to Village staff, the robot is an all-in-one F&B system automating steps from handling of orders to cooking, service and queue management.

Left to work on its own, it monitors food inventory and stocks up on food autonomously. Besides, the robot is able to clean and disinfect raw ingredients and seal cooked meals, meeting the needs of athletes and staff inside the Village.

Bipedal humanoid robot

Like most extravaganzas, humanoids performing choreographed dances have become a common sight to behold.

Bipeds shown in the picture above are deployed to the Universiade Village and are reportedly the country’s first type of small-sized bipedal robots capable of walking briskly.

It set an industry precedent by utilizing a highly resilient, big torque servo motor made from composite materials.

The bipedal gait algorithms built into the robot allow it to perform dances to entertain delegates at the welcome center of the Universiade Village.

Avatar photo
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, Trip.com 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 nitao0927@gmail.com.

Articles: 662