Flexiv Robots Perform COVID Tests and Massages at World Artificial Intelligence Conference

This was the first time the company has shown its robot arms completing these tasks.


Flexiv was founded in 2016.
Last week in Shanghai, Flexiv’s adaptive robot arms were busy at work on the World Artificial Intelligence Conference floor.

During the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai last week, Flexiv Robotics Inc. showcased how its Rizon adaptive robot arms can be used for COVID-19 testing and massages.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company said its robots take advantage of computer vision, force control, and artificial intelligence to complete a range of applications designed to help reduce human labor. When testing people for COVID-19, for example, Flexiv’s robot arms can independently swab people’s mouths and deposit samples in sterile containers.   

“With no need for human-to-human interaction, health workers can be redeployed and their workload reduced,” the company said in a statement.

Robotic back rubs

Flexiv also had a robot giving attendees massages during the event, which was held at Shanghai’s World Expo Centre. Yunfan Gao, Flexiv’s marketing director and new market development lead, said the goal of the demonstration was to show that the company’s robot could provide a cheaper alternative to expensive spas.  

“I hope that our robotic masseur will one day be in in every shopping centre, airport, and office providing a cost-effective alternative to traditional massages,” Gao said.

The six-year-old private company sells three models of robot arms, including the Rizon 4, which has a maximum payload of 4 kg (8.8 lb.) and a reach of 780 mm (30.7 in.); the Rizon 4S, which has a max payload of 3.5kg (6.6 lb.) and a reach of 780 mm (30.7 in.); and the Rizon 10, which has a max payload of 10kg (22 lb.) and a reach of 810 mm (31 in.).

The robots can be used in applications such as general assembly, surface treatment, precision manipulation, and mobile operation, said Flexiv.  

Earlier this summer, the company announced that it had raised $100 million in a Series B+ round, bringing its total money raised to $196 million, according to Crunchbase.

Flexiv was just one of more than 200 companies and organizations that had exhibits at the expo, which ran from Sept. 1 to 3. It is organized each year by the Chinese government and has been held in Shanghai for the past three years. 

One day in Flexiv.

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Flexiv was founded in 2016.

Robot Technologies