Humanoid robot GR-1 to aid aging population in China

The device was presented at the World AI Conference in Shanghai and will be developed in three years' time.
Shubhangi Dua
Humanoid robots to aid China's aging populations and patients
Humanoid robots to aid China's aging populations and patients

Fourier Intelligence  

With the acceleration in technological advancements for AI-backed humanoid robots, demand for them to be used for human companionship is increasing. 

Chinese company Fourier Intelligence has revealed plans to manufacture 100 of its GR-1 general-purpose humanoid robots by the end of 2023 to help patients with rehabilitation.

Watch the GR-1 robot perform below.

Aiding patients

The humanoid robots will be equipped with the ability to carry patients from their beds to wheelchairs, and also help pick up objects. 

The therapy machines help also help treat their clients, from improving wrist strength games to hand and finger grip training, all the way up to lower-body exoskeleton training, Euronews reports. 

The GR-1 project was launched in 2019 to meet the rising demands of the aging population in China. The National Health Commission documented that the number of people aged 60 and over would rise from 280 million to more than 400 million by 2035.

Zen Koh, CEO and Co-founder of Fourier Intelligence said, “As we move forward, the entire GR-1 could be a caregiver, could be a therapy assistant, can be a companion at home for the elderly who stay alone.”

The new robot design is just over 5 feet (1.64m) tall and weighs 120 pounds (55kg). It can walk, avoid obstacles and perform simple tasks like holding bottles.

The robot design is currently in the research and development phase, and the prototype will take up to two-three years to complete. 

Koh says, “The system itself can achieve self-balance walking and perform different tasks. We can program it to sit, stand and jump. You can program the arms to pick up utensils and tools and perform tasks as the engineers desire.”

Autonomous robotics

The company making the AI-powered robots for healthcare specializes in rehabilitation technology and has a program called RehabHub, which provides patients with a variety of options  – a series of integrated physical therapy devices.

Fourier Intelligence has also developed exoskeleton robots for patients. These devices support the arms and legs in physical therapy. 

The CEO believes humanoid robots may be able to provide substantial help and fill a gap that prior technology could not. He says, “Eventually they [patients] will have autonomous robotics that is interacting with them.”

The robotics firm presented GR-1 at the World AI Conference in Shanghai beside Tesla’s humanoid robot prototype Optimus and several other robots from Chinese companies. The conference is running until 15 July. 

Another notable robot at the conference was X20, a quadrupedal robot designed to perform dangerous tasks in place of humans such as detecting toxic gas in the atmosphere.  

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