Around China: Robots enter catering industry
HARBIN, Jan 20, 2013 (Xinhua via COMTEX) --
A restaurant on Central Street in
Harbin City, capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province,
offers service with a difference.
The Haohai Robot Restaurant is like a scene from a film with
robots resembling movie characters, such as Optimus Prime and
Wall.E, serving customers each day.
Around 20 robots work at the restaurant, which has served more
than 10,000 customers since it opened in June 2012.
The robots operate as entertainers, greeters, cooks and wait on
tables. They cook Sichuan cuisine and northeastern food.
"It's amazing. It makes me feel I'm in the future. The robots
cannot only speak, their dishes also taste delicious," said a
woman surnamed Zhang.
In fact, people who come here indulge in their curiosity rather
than appease their appetite. Most of the guests just take
Liu Hasheng, chief engineer of the restaurant said, "Almost 60
percent of guests are parents and children, and tourists account
for 20 percent. People come here not only for a meal but to
experience the world of science fiction."
Liu runs Harbin Haohai Robot Co., Ltd. developing and producing
The restaurant is a part of the company and the robots were
developed by Liu and his research team.
Each robot has a dozen facial expressions and speak using short
simple sentences. Ultrasonic detection devices prevent the robots
from hitting any barriers.
Two robots are even attached to the ceiling and can serve
dishes from up above, placing dishes of food on tables.
"The robot restaurant is a modernization revolution in the
catering and serving industry. It's a meaningful and an
irresistible trend to introduce robots into people's daily lives,
as it can save on manpower and increase fun during meals," said
Humans are needed in the restaurant but only to assist the
"After seven months in operation, the restaurant is recognized
and is welcomed by our customers. We also keep improving the
robots' functions and work efficiency, as well as increase the
variety of dishes," said Liu.
Some are concerned though.
"Zuohongbo", wrote on Sina Weibo, a popular Chinese
microblogging site, "It's a newfangled thing, and I'm happy to
know that we have so many advanced technologies. But what worries
me is it will be more difficult to find a job, as robots will
compete with human beings in the future."
Liu said his team is developing a "human-robot interaction
function", so that children will be able to play games with the
Haohai is not the first robot restaurant in China. In December
2010,Dalu Robot restaurant opened in Jinan, capital city of east
China's Shandong Province.
With rapid development of science and technology, China has
seen an increasing number of robots being used in various fields,
including industry, agriculture, medicine, security, the military,
police and the service sector.
[ Back To Technology News's Homepage ]