The Future Is Now – China Opens Robot-Operated Restaurant

Well, it’s not exactly as advanced as you’re used to seeing in sci-fi movies, but China’s colorful robot-themed restaurant can be a sign of things to come.

They’re probably going to render us extinct one day, so we might as well enjoy their servitude, while it lasts. A unique restaurant, in Harbin, China’s Heilongjiang Province, has 18 different robots doing all kinds of jobs, from ushering in guests to waiting tables and cooking various dishes. All the robots were designed and created by the Harbin Haohai Robot Company. Chief Engineer Liu Hasheng, they invested around 5 million yuan ($790,000) in the restaurant, with each robot costing 200,000 to 300,000 yuan ($31,500 – $47,000). With an average cost per dinner of between $6 and $10, they won’t be recovering their investment anytime soon, but it is great advertisement for what the robot company can create.

So what happens at the Harbin robot-operated restaurant that makes it so special? As customers walk through the door, they are greeted by a robot usher that extends its right arm and says “Earth Person, Hello, Welcome to the Robot Restaurant,” with a robotic accent. After you’ve placed your order with one of the human waiters, the robots in the kitchen get cooking. There are dumpling-making robots, noodle experts and even robot chefs that get the foods right every time. Once the meals are ready, robot waiters bring guest their orders, following a set of tracks through the restaurant. All robots are equipped with sensors which allow them to move freely without bumping into anything or anyone. As human guests enjoy their robot-cooked food, a singing robot provides the entertainment.

According to China Daily, the 18 differently-colored robots range from 1.3meters to 1.6meters in height, can show more than 10 different facial expressions and speak simple Chinese. They are controlled by a human staff in the computer room, and can work for five straight hours after a 2-hour charge.

Chinese people must not enjoy working in restaurants, as they’ve had quite a few previous attempts to replace humans with robots. In 2010, they opened their first robot restaurant, in Jiang, but they’ve also invented robot cooks a couple of times.  If you like this kind of robot-operated joints, you should definitely visit the Hajime Restaurant, in Japan, where robot samurai have replaced human waiters.


Photos via Xinhua News

Posted in Tech, Travel        Tags: , , , , , , ,