Science & Technology

A glimpse into future at World Robot Conference in China

By Alvaro Alfaro

Beijing, Aug 19 (EFE).- Robots that care for the elderly, conduct PCR tests, and deliver packages are some of the highlights of the 2022 World Robot Conference underway in Beijing.

The event, organized between Aug.18 to 21, brings together more than 130 companies that showcase the latest advances in robotics in China, where the sector had a turnover of 83 billion yuan ($12.23 billion) in 2021.

The participants display how robots can contribute to different sectors, including the restaurant industry, medicine, elderly care, agriculture, and manufacturing.

One of the main event attractions is the robots that carry out PCR tests.

After a series of coronavirus outbreaks in the country in spring, the inhabitants of large cities undergo several weekly PCR tests to gain entry into public places, including stores, parks, and even the conference.

The authorities of the Chinese megalopolises have fixed a target of setting up testing booths so every resident can find one within a 15-minute walk.

It has led to thousands of such booths on the country’s streets.

The robotic cabin developed by a laboratory affiliated with Tsinghua University promises to test a sample in 35 seconds with a 99.9 percent effectiveness.

With the push of a button, a mechanical arm comes out of the cabin and places a stick of cotton in the mouth of the person being tested.

Owing to their ability to work for many hours at a time, these robots could help ease the long queues outside testing booths in high populated areas.

Healthcare robotics occupies a prominent place in the event with robots that perform dental procedures, high-precision surgeries, and vaccinations.

Companies are also displaying their creations in the elderly care sector, which is expected to grow considerably in the future as the Chinese population ages.

The robot developed by Robint is equipped with a camera and is capable of moving around an elderly person’s house, keeping track of the medicines they have taken, and alerting if any have been skipped.

It also has a thermometer and a blood pressure monitor with data synchronized to monitor the patient’s health.

“In China, there are more than 260 million elderly people,” a company representative told EFE.

“If only a small percentage of them buy these products, we would already be talking about a huge market.”

By 2035, people over 60 are expected to constitute more than 30 percent of the Chinese population compared to the current 18 percent.

Two Chinese digital giants, the JD e-commerce platform and the Meituan food delivery firm, were also present at the event.

For years, these companies have been at the forefront of developing logistics robots to save millions of dollars in wages for their delivery personnel.

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