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Virtual Reality Virtually Unmissable at Guangzhou Robot Show

Drones and VR dominate proceedings at the 2015 China (Guangzhou) Intelligent Equipment and Robot Expo.

Photo: Flights of fancy: A virtual reality airplane experience.
Flights of fancy: A virtual reality airplane experience.
Photo: Flights of fancy: A virtual reality airplane experience.
Flights of fancy: A virtual reality airplane experience.

This year's China (Guangzhou) Intelligent Equipment and Robot Expo saw a wide array of virtual reality equipment on show, all designed to give users a truly immersive experience. The other major attraction at the show was the debut of a number of innovative new videography systems, with both domestic and overseas companies keen to stake their claim in this rapidly expanding market.

One of the most popular stands came courtesy of Shenzhen's Jingmin Digital Machine Co, an established supplier of equipment for virtual reality theme parks. The company develops, manufactures and markets intelligent dashboards and control software as well as animation simulation electromechanical products. This year, the company's oval-shaped space capsule and virtual reality parachute installation attracted a high level of visitors, all keen to try out this high-tech experience for themselves.

Photo: Chute to thrill: Para-reality.
Chute to thrill: Para-reality.
Photo: Chute to thrill: Para-reality.
Chute to thrill: Para-reality.

According to Xiang Wanpeng, a Sales Engineer with the company, up to three customers can be seated in the oval-shaped space capsule at any one time, allowing small groups to share the excitement of the experience. From inside the capsule, users can view high-definition simulated movies through the screens set into their helmets. This, in conjunction with the synchronised movements of the capsule, is said to provide customers with a truly authentic space travel experience.

Aside from the capsule, the company also had on offer a diverse variety of HD simulated movies at its virtual reality pavilion. The movies offered visitors a choice of digital experiences, including mountain adventures, haunted cemetery encounters, extreme landscape exploration and mysterious gorge journeys.

Xiang said his company now has the capacity to design a truly huge selection of immersive simulated scenes. Its full set of equipment, including all the necessary hardware and software, sells for between Rmb80,000 and Rmb100,000 and also entitles the purchaser to the use of 10 new HD movie simulations per annum. The company's products are now available to domestic purchasers, while also being exported to several overseas markets, notably Eastern Europe, East Asia and Southeast Asia.

The company also offers bespoke movie scenes, provided to required lengths in line with individual client specifications. At present, some 60% of the company's staff is said to be involved in R&D-related activities, with the company investing heavily in maintaining and developing its market share.

Drone Arrangers

In other, non-virtual reality related areas, Renxian, the Guangzhou-based agent for Shenzhen's Dajiang Innovation Technology Co (DJI), had on offer the Phantom 3, DJI's latest unmanned drone. It was also showcasing the DJI Ronin-M 3-Axis Handheld Gimbal Stabiliser, a system designed to reduce image shake while using digital cameras.

Said to be of particular benefit to professional photo companies, advertising agencies and filmmakers, the Ronin-M is designed to ensure camera images stay steady even while the operator is running or otherwise in motion. According to Chi Jianxiang, Head of Renxian's Guangzhou operation, the system can operate in three ways – underslung mode, upright mode and briefcase mode (where it's turned on its side to film through narrow apertures).

Photo: Image conscious: The Ronin-M 3.
Image conscious: The Ronin-M 3.
Photo: Image conscious: The Ronin-M 3.
Image conscious: The Ronin-M 3.
Photo: Virtual learning: Educating attendees.
Virtual learning: Educating attendees.
Photo: Virtual learning: Educating attendees.
Virtual learning: Educating attendees.

Chi said that the Ronin-M's major selling points are its tiny size, light weight (2.3 kg) and facility to support photography equipment weighing up to 3.6 kg. The system can also be remotely controlled and can produce enhanced videographic effects if used by two operators, with one positioning the rig and the other controlling the camera.

On the drone front, Guangzhou Jinjia Intelligent Technology had on offers its meal delivery robot, while Guangdong Jaten Robot & Automation was showcasing Dahuangfeng, its Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV). Meanwhile, making its Asian debut was Behop2, an unmanned drone manufactured by France's Parrot. Bringing up the rear in terms of robotic offerings was Zhuhai-based Lvweishi with Feipengbao, its drone crop sprayer.

The exhibition component of the event was complimented by a series of 10 seminars and networking meetings, all addressing such themes as Industry 4.0, smart manufacturing and 3D printing.

The 2015 China (Guangzhou) Intelligent Equipment and Robot Expo took place at the China Import and Export Fair Pazhou Complex.

Xing Bin, Special Correspondent, Guangzhou

Related article: Service Robots, Industrial Automatons and Drones Conquer Guangzhou

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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