Photos: Lifelike robots and android dogs wow visitors at Beijing robotics fair

Humanoid robots perform at the World Robot Conference 2023 in Beijing, capital of China, Aug. 16, 2023. (Photo by Wang Yuguo/Xinhua via Getty Images)

Winking, grimacing or nodding their heads, robots mimicked the expressions of visitors at a robot expo in Beijing.

They were among the creations dazzling people attending the annual World Robot Conference, where companies showed off robots designed for a wide range of uses, including manufacturing, surgery and companionship.

The animatronic heads and humanoid robots on display at the EX Robots booth this week personified the image of what robots are supposed to be in the popular imagination, with synthetic skin and lifelike facial expressions complimented by moving arms and hands.

CEO Li Boyang said they’re ideal for roles that require interacting with the public, such as in museums, tourist attractions, school settings and "companion scenarios."

Doggie droids — a mainstay of high-tech fairs — were out in force. Canine robots shook hands with fairgoers and performed handstands on their front paws.

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A technician debuts a bionic humanoid robot at the 2023 World Robot Conference in Beijing, China, August 17, 2023. (Photo by Costfoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Elsewhere at the fair, robotic arms served Chinese tea, prepared ice cream cones, bounced ping pong balls and gave visitors back massages.

Harvesting robots demonstrated how they could pick apples off the branch, while an artist robot drew portraits of visitors.

Industrial robot arms for factory production lines also grabbed focus. One of Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s goals is to move the country’s vast manufacturing sector away from low-cost creation of cheap goods into more high-tech production, and industrial robots will be an important element of that plan.