Watch: Robotic bartenders, surgeons and bats at World Robot Conference

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By Seana Davis
Watch: Robotic bartenders, surgeons and bats at World Robot Conference

A robotic flying fox, automated bartenders and a mechanical life-sized NBA basketball player are among the thousands of eye-catching exhibitions at the third annual World Robot Conference.

The four-day event is currently underway in Bejing, China. It kicked off on August 15 and is expected to attract more than 50,000 visitors throughout the conference.

Robotic bartender can create cocktails in less than one minute.REUTERS/Jason Lee

Harbin Haiying Robotic Manufacturing showcased its miniature tank furnished with a laser. Although balloons are its only target at the event, Liu Hasheng, director of the company, said that it has the capability of being equipped with real ammunition.

"This robot can carry weapons weighing 20kg at a speed of 40km/h. Battery endurance stands at four hours," he said.

Healthcare and surgical robots allowed visitors to catch a glimpse of the future, with pharmaceutical companies like Fosun Pharma expecting major breakthroughs in medical robots to occur over the next five years.

"The DaVinci robotic arm can imitate how human hands work. It can rotate in a 540-degree range while the maximum range of a human hand is within 270 degrees," said sales manager Fosun Pharma, Zhou Jiantong.

Jiantong said that the machine "can complete complicated operations as well as minimally invasive surgery".

The company Festo brought the event to a flying start when it showcased its gliding fox. The exhibit was invented through the use of "biomimicry". This technique uses designs based on nature, such as the geometry of a bat's wings.

Yan Yu, sales manager of Festo, noted that polymer composites were used to construct the wings, making it "both light and stretchy".

Festo's flying fox in action.REUTERS/Jason Lee

China has one of the largest robotic markets worldwide, although it aims to surpass its competitors such as Europe, North America and Japan in robotic production, according to the President of the Association for Advancing Automation, Jeff Burnstein.

"China is making rapid progress in part because of their Made in China 2025 programme. They have a national strategy that maybe surpasses the strategies of their competitors," he said.