Incident 217: Robot at a Chinese Tech Fair Smashed a Glass Booth, Injuring a Visitor

Description: At the 18th China Hi-Tech Fair, a robot suddenly smashed through a glass booth and injured a visitor, after a staff member reportedly mistakenly pressed a button, causing it to reverse and accelerate.
Alleged: Evolver developed and deployed an AI system, which harmed fair visitors.

Suggested citation format

Dickinson, Ingrid. (2016-11-16) Incident Number 217. in Lam, K. (ed.) Artificial Intelligence Incident Database. Responsible AI Collaborative.

Incident Stats

Incident ID
217
Report Count
2
Incident Date
2016-11-16
Editors
Khoa Lam

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Incident Reports

For the first time in China, a robot has ‘attacked’ and injured a person. The incident occurred at the 18th China Hi-Tech Fair, that kicked off in Shenzhen on November 16th.

A robot called ‘Little Chubby’ (小胖) was temporarily left without supervision at the hi-tech fair, after which it suddenly smashed through a glass booth and injured a visitor.

According to Chinese media, the visitor has been taken to the hospital for his injuries shortly after the unsupervised robot smashed the booth.

Little Chubby is designed for children in the 4-12 age category and is used as an educational robot. The Chinese robot, produced by a Beijing-based tech company, can be purchased for approximately 1460 US$ (9988元) on Chinese e-commerce websites.

Now that it seems that Little Chubby has some serious flaws, parents might think twice before buying the robot for their children. The Little Chubby robot did not look too happy after its violent outburst (picture via Sina News).

Although some netizens on Sina Weibo expressed their concern over the incident, many found the news amusing: “This robot is a pioneer in his struggle against humanity,” one commenter wrote. “The invasion of the robots has started”, another person wrote.

“The Terminator is out there!” one other Weibo user said.

The China Hi-Tech Fair, held at the Shenzhen Convention & Exhibition Center, is the leading technology event of China. The 6-day annual fair brings together thousands of the hottest and latest technological innovations.

“Maybe Little Chubby was just unhappy about being a made-in-China robot,” one netizen said.

Chinese Robot Smashes Booth and Injures Man at Shenzhen Hi-Tech Fair

A visitor to a Chinese tech fair was injured yesterday after a robot suddenly went out of control and smashed a booth, according to Chinese media.

The three-foot-tall droid, which has been launched recently, is designed by a Chinese company to teach children English and is popular among families.

The victim sustained cuts in the ankle caused by shattered glass and was taken to the hospital by staff at the booth.

The incident took place at the China Hi-Tech Fair held in Shenzhen, southern China, on November, 17, according to a reported on Huanqiu.com, an affiliation to the People's Daily.

The robot, which has been named 'Little Chubby' by Beijing-based developer Evolver, is programmed to teach English as well as general knowledge to children aged between four and 12.

The incident was first reported by users of Wechat, a popular social media app in China.

According to Shenzhen Evening News, a witness wrote in a post: 'The Force Awakens! I saw the "Little Chubby" at the neighboring booth smashing the glass wall without any human commands, wounding a passerby.'

One of the three accompanying photos showed the white droid, which had allegedly caused a scene.

Another photo showed the tech show's staff cleaning up the broken glass left on the ground.

A third photo showed the injured visitor being carried on a stretcher.

According to an official Weibo post from the Shenzhen city government, the victim's ankle was cut by the broken glass.

The man was later taken to the hospital and received to stitches, said the statement.

The news was quickly shared by Chinese media on their online platforms.

The incident was reported to be the first case in China that a robot had injured a human by various Chinese media, including CCTV News, Sina and Global Times.

Evolver, the developer and manufacturer of 'Little Chubby', issued a statement on November 18 through its social media account on Weibo.

The firm said in the statement that the robot had been showcasing its ability to project at the booth.

A member of staff pressed a button on 'Little Chubby' by mistake, causing it to reverse instead of moving forward.

The robot was designed to detect and avoid obstacles automatically, but the function was turned off at the time.

This led the machine to go out of control as it sped forward for as long as 10 seconds and smashed into a glass wall.

Launched in September and targeted at families with young children, 'Little Chubby' is sold at two prices depending on the functions: 9,988 yuan(£1,176) for a basic version and 12,988 yuan(£1,529) for an advanced version.

So far, over 3,000 of these droids have been sold across China, according to the company's statement.

Marketed as 'a professional tutor' and 'child's playmate', the robot can be used at home to assist children aged between four and 12 in learning English and general knowledge.

The incident has attracted thousands of comments on Weibo, a social media platform in China.

Some expressed concerns on whether or not it was suitable to use 'Little Chubby' to accompany their children while others poked fun at the machine.

One person asked: 'What would happen if a family member press the wrong button?'

Another one wondered: 'Tailored for children aged four to 12 years old? Will it give children physical punishment?'

While one user said: 'Primary school children wouldn't win the fight with the robot.'

A fourth one joked: 'Hawking's prediction on the rise of robots is becoming true.'

Tech-fair visitor is injured after a robot designed to teach CHILDREN 'loses control' and smashes a booth in China