The World Robot Conference was hosted in Beijing in August, and ITwF takes a look at the industry trends and coolest tech to come out of the event, including companion robots, those deployed on manufacturing assembly lines and those used for entertainment.

Showcasing the best of the international robotics scene, the 2018 World Robot Conference saw over 300 experts and entrepreneurs from around the world come together in Beijing in August to foster discussions centered on international cooperation, basic technologies and innovation, frontier trends, artificial intelligence and integration, as well as new applications, market and investment. Under the theme of ‘Creating Intelligent Momentum for a New Era of Openness and Shared Benefits’, the five-day conference featured forums, symposiums, exhibitions and contests that attracted nearly 5,000 competitors from more than ten countries.

From diagnosing diseases to playing badminton, robotics companies in China got the opportunity to show off how their creations could shape lives around the world. A robotic flying fox, automated bartenders and a mechanical life-sized NBA basketball player were among the thousands of eye-catching exhibitions.

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Healthcare and surgical robots allowed visitors to catch a glimpse of the future, with pharmaceutical companies like Fosun Pharma expecting major breakthroughs in medical robots to occur over the next five years. “The DaVinci robotic arm can imitate how human hands work. It can rotate in a 540-degree range while the maximum range of a human hand is within 270 degrees,” said sales manager Fosun Pharma, Zhou Jiantong. Jiantong said that the machine “can complete complicated operations as well as minimally invasive surgery”.

The company Festo brought the event to a flying start when it showcased its gliding fox. The exhibit was invented through the use of “biomimicry”. This technique uses designs based on nature, such as the geometry of a bat’s wings. Yan Yu, sales manager of Festo, noted that polymer composites were used to construct the wings, making it “both light and stretchy”.

The robots showcased weren’t just the helpful robots of the future. There were 57 robot fighting teams that took their creations head-to-head on the World Robot Conference stage. While the robo-fights might’ve captured the attention of the adults, children who attended the convention were entertained by testing, building, and wiring their own robots.

Preparing for the Robot Revolution

While not all of the robotics companies that attended the WRC were based in China, the conference as a showcase of the country’s commitment to exploring. On an international scale, China is in the lead for producing and selling the most robots. Over 141,000 units were sold last year, meeting a third of the global demand for bots and automatons.

ITwF Team