On Friday, the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) unveiled an interactive beauty robot, Jiajia, the third generation of the series of “Kejia” interactive social robots.
USTC describes Jiajia’s characteristics as diligent and smart, keeping a balance between the design of the robot’s appearance and functional attributes.
Jiajia caught the attention of the public in early February when she acted as the only hostess in China’s first ever robot talent show gala.
As an upgraded version in the “Kejia” series, Jiajia has adopted an independently developed high-reality emulation technology to improve the process of human-robot communication. As of now she can recognize human speech and is able to speak both Mandarin and English. She can also make human expressions and perform various actions. Jiajia’s developers have solved difficulties in designing the robot’s appearance and are currently taking crucial steps towards the commercial application of Jiajia in China.
The National Natural Science Foundation of China and USTC have funded the scientific research of the Jiajia program.
Growth of the Chinese robot industry is currently accelerating, with an annual growth rate of more than 50%. China was the world’s largest industrial robot market for the last two consecutive years, and the robot market as a whole will reach RMB 600 billion (USD 92 billion) in ten years, according to the China Robot Industry Alliance.
Robots the likes of Jiajia are becoming commonplace in neighboring Japan, where the robotics industry has had decades of development. Japanese companies currently command 50% of the global market for factory robots, and all manner of potential opportunities in robotics and the threat of China’s increasing growth in the industry is taken seriously. Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe announced plans in 2015 to quadruple the Japanese robotics industry to USD 19 billion by 2020.
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Meet the robotics startup that wants to be the Android of AI
(Top photo from ahwang.com)