If you are ever in China’s Heilongjiang Province you have to check out the Harbin restaurant which has a number of different robots carrying out a various chores in the restaurant from preparing food, to showing guests to their tables.
When you walk through the door at Harbin, you are greeted by a robot usher that extends its arm and welcomes you “earth person” to the restaurant. You place your food order with a human waiter and the robots in the kitchen get cracking preparing your meal. Apparently the robot chefs have different areas of expertise – a dumpling-making robot, a noodle-making robot etc. According to restaurant reviews, they get it right all the time! The Harbin restaurant has 18 robots in a variety of different colors and they are controlled by humans from the computer room. They all speak simple Chinese and can show more than 10 different facial expressions.
Robot waiters bring the diners their food, traveling around the restaurant on a set of tracks. They are all equipped with sensors that allow them to move around freely, without the risk of bumping into a wandering diner and making them wear their dinner. Could be a little chaotic if they didn’t have these sensors, although I think it would be quite fun to watch!
If all of this wasn’t robotically entertaining enough for you, the restaurant also has a singing robot to entertain the guests while they chow down!
The colorful robots that make the Harbin restaurant a unique place were all created by the Harbin Haohia Robot Company. According to Chief Engineer Lui Hasheng approximately 5million yuan ($790,000) was invested into the restaurant, with each robot costing between 200,000 to 300,000 yuan ($31,500 – $47,000).
But don’t worry, eating at the Harbin restaurant won’t cost you an arm or a leg (even a robotic one), despite the fact that the robots are quite expensive, the meals at the restaurant have been set at quite a reasonable price, costing between $6 and $10 each. I’d say it was more about showing the diners the achievements of the robot company, rather than trying to recoup their investment through the sales of the food!