Robots offer a helping hand in the home

By Ma Si | China Daily | Updated: 2019-01-01 07:01
A home service robot for the elderly makes visitors laugh at a technology expo held in Hong Kong. [Photo/China News Service]

Automated appliances are becoming commonplace and more intelligent

Wang Liming, a 29-year-old internet company employee in Beijing, has developed a new habit this year. After she comes home from work every other day, she turns on a robot that cleans her apartment's windows by itself.

"It's beyond my expectation. The robot measures the height and the width of a window before mapping the best route to take while cleaning. The bigger the window, the better the robot works," Wang said. "It is not a toy, but a real helping hand."

She bought the robot for about 1,800 yuan ($260) in April, and she has been using the low-noise, automated machine ever since. "It works pretty well on hard-to-reach, high-risk windows," she added.

Wang is one of a growing number of Chinese consumers who are embracing household robots to improve their daily lives, amid the rising income and rapid development of the service robotics industry.

On Nov 11, the annual Singles Day online shopping festival, sales of one of the most popular smart vacuum robots made by Ecovacs Robotics Co-China's largest in-home robotic products manufacturer-exceeded 100 million yuan within just a half hour.

Ecovacs' products, which include floor sweeping and window cleaning robots, reached a sales record of over 700 million yuan during the peak season beginning Nov 11.

"China's swelling middle-income group has rising demand for domestic cleaning, home security and surveillance robots," said Luo Jun, CEO of the Asian Manufacturing Association.

According to the International Federation of Robotics, global sales of privately used service robots are forecast to reach 35 million units by year-end, and household robots will be right at the top of more consumers' future shopping lists.

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