Humanoid Robot Sophia garnered a lot of attention since its unveiling in 2016. The makers of the Humanoid have now planned mass rollout amidst the global pandemic. Hanson Robotics, based in Hong Kong, said four models, including RobotSophia, will be ready by the first half of 2021, just as researchers predict the pandemic will open new opportunities for the robotics industry.
Founder and Chief Executive David Hanson said, “The world of COVID-19 is going to need more and more automation to keep people safe.” While many are of the view that Sophia robot destroy humans, Hanson firmly believes that robotic solutions to the pandemic are not limited to healthcare, but could assist customers in industries such as retail and airlines too.
Hanson believes robotic solutions to the pandemic are not limited to healthcare, but could assist customers in industries such as retail and airlines too. The aim is to sell thousands of robots in 2021, both large and small, without providing a specific number. “Sophia and Hanson robots are unique by being so human-like,” he added. “That can be so useful during these times where people are terribly lonely and socially isolated.”
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“Social robots like me can take care of the sick or elderly,” Sophia says as she conducts a tour of her lab in Hong Kong. She further said, “I can help communicate, give therapy and provide social stimulation, even in difficult situations.”
According to Social robotics professor Johan Hoorn, who conducted an interview with Humanoid Robot Sophia as a part of his research, explainedthat even though technology is still in comparativeinitial stages, the pandemic has shifted the focus towards the relationship between humans and robots. In his lecture at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, he said, “I can infer the pandemic will actually help us get robots earlier in the market because people start to realise that there is no other way.”
Apart from Humanoid Robot Sophia, Hanson Robotics is also launching Robot Grace, developed for the healthcare sector.Products from other big companiesare equally contributing in fighting the deadly pandemic. SoftBank Robotics’ Pepper robot was recently deployed to detect people who weren’t wearing masks. In China, robotics company CloudMindsmade efforts to set up a robot-run field hospital during the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan.
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