Like many countries, China is confronting the challenge of an aging population. The number of individuals aged 60 and over is projected to rise from 280 million to over 400 million by 2035, according to estimates from the country’s National Health Commission. That’s more than the entire population of the United States projected for that year.

It’s not the sheer number of the elderly that is a problem, but rather their share of the overall population. By 2040, nearly 30% of China’s population will be 60 or older.

This significant demographic shift indicates a crucial turning point for China, as it will no longer possess its previous advantage of abundant and inexpensive skilled labor. Instead, the nation will face the formidable economic challenge of providing adequate care for its rapidly aging population.

It is out of this dire need to address labor shortages and ensure adequate care for the elderly that the GR-1 was born.

The GR-1 is poised to be the world’s first mass-produced humanoid robot. This 1.64-meter-tall, 55-kilogram robot possesses an array of human-like capabilities, including walking, obstacle avoidance, and the ability to perform routine physical tasks such as lifting objects. With an emphasis on versatility, the GR-1 can also assist in transferring patients from beds to wheelchairs – an essential function in healthcare facilities.

Zen Koh, CEO and Co-founder of Fourier Intelligence envisions a future where the GR-1 becomes an indispensable caregiver, therapy assistant, and — why not — a companion for the elderly.

As a testament to the robot’s adaptability, Koh highlights that it can be programmed to sit, stand, jump, and handle various utensils and tools. Engineers are actively exploring ways to enhance the robot’s capabilities and ensure its seamless integration into healthcare settings.

Fourier Intelligence has an extensive history of manufacturing rehabilitation technology and exoskeletons, which serves as a strong foundation for the development of the GR-1. By combining rehabilitation knowledge with humanoid robotics, Fourier Intelligence aims to create a comprehensive solution that benefits patients across various healthcare needs.

Fourier Intelligence is integrating AI tools like ChatGPT into the interaction capabilities of their robot, GR-1, in order to facilitate more human-like communication with the individuals the robot collaborates with. Additionally, Fourier Intelligence is exploring various possibilities for utilizing the robot in areas such as disaster relief and response, senior care, and household services.

The GR-1 made its public debut at this week’s World AI Conference in Shanghai. But it wasn’t the only humanoid robot there. During another display, Tesla showcased its own humanoid robot prototype, aptly called Optimus.