Fri, Aug 22, 2008 - Page 12 News List

Local record-setter features at Taipei’s world robot show

By Jerry Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

A model displays a mini robot on the opening day of the 2008 Taipei International Robot Show yesterday. The event, held at Exhibition Hall I of the Taipei World Trade Center, closes on Sunday.

PHOTO: CHIEN JUNG-FONG, TAIPEI TIMES

The 2008 Taipei International Robot Show opened at Taipei World Trade Center Exhibition Hall I in Xinyi District (信義) yesterday, featuring the locally designed BeRobot, which, at 15.3cm, set a Guinness World Record as the smallest humanoid robot.

Ministry of Economic Affairs statistics indicated that local companies had invested NT$5.83 billion (US$191.85 million) in the intelligent robot industry.

“Since 2005, the government has included the robotics industry in its national development plan and aims to make Taiwan a global manufacturing and design center for intelligent robotics by 2015, hoping to boost the annual production value to NT$250 billion” from less than NT$40 billion, Vice President Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) said at the expo’s opening yesterday.

To achieve this goal, the government has invested NT$35 million this year to assist the industry in product development, which has benefited 35 companies and should generate a production value of at least NT$1.4 billion, a report by the industrial development bureau said.

The BeRobot weighs 250kg and was developed by the Taoyuan-based GeStream Technology Inc (極趣科技).

BeRobot can be controlled by remote control or by vocal command and can perform a wide range of actions, including walking, dancing, push-ups and even Tai Chi.

BeRobot can also transform into various animal forms and is mainly used for educational and entertainment purposes, the company said.

GeStream Technology chief operating officer Sean Chang (張合右) said yesterday that the company received recognition for its Guinness World Record in January for the smallest robot to be mass produced.

Chang expects the company to sell between 3,000 and 5,000 units of BeRobot — priced at NT$16,000 — this year, with 500 to 600 units on the domestic market.

Chang said that the company had invested almost NT$40 million in research and development for the product over the past four years.

The company expected sales of BeRobot to help it turn a profit this year.

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