Less than a metre tall and weighing just 19kg, even in my drunkest state I’d fancy my chances against Sanbot. The friendly looking robot is being shown off by a company called Qihan at IFA, and you may end up spotting one in the wild (at your local supermarket/airport/school) at some point in the near future.
The machine is designed to be used for a multitude of roles, including housekeeping, waiting, teaching and even security. Sanbot’s loaded head to toe with sensors. On its head alone are a 3D camera, an HD camera and an HD projector, while a touchscreen, infrared sensors and subwoofers are dotted over its little body.
Qihan tells me it’s coming to the UK next month, but this is no stocking filler. Not yet, anyway. Cute as it may be, Sanbot isn’t going to stand around, allowing gurgling kids to drool all over its chassis. Nosiree.
The grand vision is for the little robot to be sold into a life of service in a shop, hotel, school, nursing home or the like, making the world a better place and, you know, fuelling ‘We want our jobs back’ type stories. Facial and voice recognition are key features, with Sanbot responding to commands and interactions with flirty phrases dripping with sass. Okay, not actually flirty. It'll also sound an alarm and notify you if shit hits the fan.
It can also monitor its surroundings, so it doesn’t crash into anyone, and will automatically make its way over to its charger when it’s running low on juice. In the flesh, it’s charming, like a puppy. It even blinks. Could I imagine it in a work scenario? With difficulty. What do I know though? A team of Sanbots has been grafting away at Shenzhen airport for several months already, providing passengers with flight information and whatnot.
That UK airport booze ban had better not happen before these guys are deployed here.