Multipurpose robot maid launched at IFA

A multipurpose cloud-powered robot assistant named Sanbot has been unveiled at the IFA electronics show in Berlin today, hoping to win over the service sector with a simple open architecture.

The IFA show has been an international debut for the robot, which this month took up its first employment in China, guiding travellers through the busy Shenzhen Airport.

The robot, resembling a somewhat plump housemaid, has been developed by Shenzhen-based company Qihan, which opted for a simpler service-focused approach instead of the complexities of its more famous competitor Pepper.

The robot’s primary software runs on a private cloud server. The secondary software contains applications tailored for specific purposes. The company has made the robot’s API publicly available for developers to easily build new applications. The robot, which has to be constantly connected to its cloud server through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, can be controlled via a smartphone app.

The cloud setup allows for the robot to be programmed remotely, without any interaction with the hardware.

This open approach, Qihan hopes, will help Sanbot penetrate the many target industries its makers aim for. Sanbot can work as an airport guide, waiter, teaching assistant, security worker or a smart home manager.

Equipped with facial recognition technologies, Sanbot can recognise individual household members, remember their schedules and provide reminders, similarly to the Asus Zenbo robot launched earlier this year. It listens to voice commands and recognises gestures but also allows for input through a touchscreen.

Thanks to its multiple sensors and cameras, Sanbot can sense its surroundings and even detect, for example, if a visitor is touching a museum artefact.

Sanbot can run on battery for four hours non-stop and re-charges itself automatically when needed.

Qihan says it hopes Sanbot will make robotics less scary to businesses and remove barriers for the deployment of humanoid robots in various service sectors.

The robot is equipped with an HD camera, a stereocamera for 3D vision and multiple audio and infrared sensors.


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