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Adam Bannister is a contributor to IFSEC Global, having been in the role of Editor from 2014 through to November 2019. Adam also had stints as a journalist at cybersecurity publication, The Daily Swig, and as Managing Editor at Dynamis Online Media Group.
September 5, 2016


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Meet Sanbot: the AI robot seeking work as a waiter, security guard or smart-home butler

It can read facial expressions, recognise and respond to complex voice commands and interface with internet-of-things devices in the smart home.

Offering video surveillance functionality too, she (it’s female; the eyelashes are the giveaway) can serve as a very different kind of security guard. It can even detect smoke.

Meet Sanbot, a robot with artificial intelligence being launched at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin this week by Chinese robotics developer Qihan.


Sold according to a ‘robotics as a service’ model, Sanbot is being pitched to organisations as a means to improve security, create cost efficiencies , raise customer service standards and glean marketing insights in retail, healthcare, hospitality and other service sectors. But because it operates on an open API platform, there is in theory no limit to the sectors in which Sanbot could deploy.

Qihan, which develops video surveillance cameras and video analytics software as well as artificial intelligence and robotics, is encouraging developers to harness the robot’s AI system to develop apps that meet the needs of whatever industry they have in mind.

The Q-Link Private Cloud System allows for advanced AI calculations as well as management, communications support, remote hardware control, data storage and more.

Downloadable on the App Store and Google Play, Q-Link gives users direct control of Sanbot from their smartphone or tablet. They can move the robot manually or use its built-in audio-visual features and HD cameras. The Sanbot system supports data encryption and advanced access control for robust information security protection.

The video above shows Sanbot in action as a kind of sales assistant-cum marketer, advising customers on products and monitoring and reporting on things like footfall and stock levels. The robot, which also connects with connected devices in smart homes, is also shown approaching a man at home with news of his latest digital notifications – ie, new emails, calendar reminders of upcoming events or items on a to-do list.

IFSEC Global attended a demo where the robot played and moved to music and, in response to voice commands, showcased its security functions.

Qihan executives said the firm was investing heavily in robotics as they believed it could have a transformative effect on a wide range of industries, including the security sector, where the concept of mobile video surveillance would represent a dramatic depature from traditional, static network cameras.

One of the obvious appeals of non-human staff is 24-hour availability – albeit limited by the robot’s need to recharge. The robot will seek out a recharging station on its own initiative when battery power is waning.

The cloud-based AI platform is the product of collaborations with the Harbin Institute of Technology and the China University of Geosciences, among other organisations.

Sanbot will be available to buy outright or through monthly subscription options through authorised partners and distributors in Europe and North America. A menu of prices is yet to be released.

“Sanbot has the potential to reshape how service industries operate and we’re excited to be at the forefront of this artificial intelligence revolution,” says Lin Lvde, Chairman of Qihan Technology.  “Sanbot is the culmination of years of research into artificial intelligence, machine learning and video and machine vision recognition.

“We truly believe that robots like Sanbot will have a significant role to play in the future of retail, education, healthcare and more.”

Sanbot include:

  • Cloud-based artificial intelligence platform supporting machine-learning, face and 3D image recognition and semantic comprehension
  • Proprietary tri-polar system architecture – which means it comprises robot, private cloud and a mobile application – means customers can control Sanbot from mobile devices like smartphones or tablets
  • Open API to support development of Android apps and deployment in new environments
  • Ability to detect obstacles, human beings and other objects via sensors
  • Senses humans, reads gestures and facial expressions and responds to complex voice commands
  • Full suite of audio-visual devices including a 10.1 inch 1080P touchscreen display and built-in 1920 x 720 HD projector
  • 811 b/g/n Wi-Fi standards with ZigBee connectivity
  • 0Ah/300W lithium battery keeps Sanbot running at full load for four hours and in standby mode for twenty hours
  • Self-charging function: Sanbot finds and moves to charging station itself

Founded in 2006, QIHAN Technology Co Ltd is headquartered in Shenzhen, China. Qihan’s proprietary solutions include Sanbot, Donkey and Q-Link. The company owns more than 100 patents, copyrights and trademarks in machine vision recognition, multi-axis automatic control and big data analysis.


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