China’s First Human-Like Robot ‘Jia Jia’ Unveiled


The first of its kind in the country, China’s University of Science and Technology (USTC), on April 15, unveiled a new interactive robot named Jia Jia which looks very much like a real woman and can speak English and Mandarin Chinese.

Jia Jia, a human-like robot that is comparable to Japanese models seen in the past, not only has the face of a beautiful woman, but is equipped with basic functions, such as being able to interact with people next to ‘her’, facial expressions, as well as gestures.

This life-sized robot is drawn from five attractive female students from the (USTC) university, in Hefei, capital of east China’s Anhui Province.

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Developed by a robot research and development team at the USTC, which also developed the model service robot “Kejia”, that won first place at the RoboCup championship in 2014, this amazing new-generation interactive robot took the team three years to research and develop.

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Jia Jia cannot cry or laugh as that technology is still under development, but can however speak, show micro-expressions, move its lips, and move its body. It also has high-tech functions like Global Positioning System and is capable of connecting to cloud services.

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The research team Director Chen Xiaoping, says compared to previous interactive robots, Jia Jia’s eyeballs roll naturally and its speech is in sync with its lip movements, in addition to her human-like form.

Chen who describes the robot as “priceless”, and is confident it would become a wise “robot goddess”, says the team further hopes to develop the robot so it has deep learning abilities. Features such as facial-expression recognition and the ability to interact deeply with people will hopefully be added.

However, the team is not considering Jia Jia for mass production yet. Jia Jia will be on show at the 2016 China (Shanghai) International Technology Fair from April 21-23.

Although this robot itself is not a huge leap technologically, it is a major breakthrough in robotics and technology for China. Jia Jia is not the first robot built to resemble a woman. Recently in Hong Kong, a robot that looked like actress Scarlett Johansson was also unveiled.

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