Restaurant revolution thanks to Chinese innovation

Zhang Jin China Plus Published: 2017-10-12 17:43:26
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Imagine the restaurant of the future.

After scanning their smartphone, access is granted and diners allocated a table which has an interactive table top screen.

Governor of Zhejiang Province Yuan Jiajun (R4 in the front) and Jack Ma (in yellow T-shirt), founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group, visit the futuristic smart restaurant on show at the Computing Conference 2017 held in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, on Tuesday, October 10, 2017. [Photo: thepaper.cn]

Governor of Zhejiang Province Yuan Jiajun (R4 in the front) and Jack Ma (in yellow T-shirt), founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group, visit the futuristic smart restaurant on show at the Computing Conference 2017 held in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, on Tuesday, October 10, 2017. [Photo: thepaper.cn]

There they can navigate the menu and order their food with a wave of their hand. Payment is made automatically after the meal.

Science fiction? Not according to the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, which is hosting the ongoing Computing Conference 2017 in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang Province, reports thepaper.cn.

The smart restaurant is being developed jointly by several affiliates of Alibaba Group, including the technology laboratory of Ant Financial, koubei.com and the artificial intelligence team at Alipay.

A demonstration of how to order food in the futuristic smart restaurant on show at the Computing Conference 2017 held in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, on Thursday, October 12, 2017. [Photo: thepaper.cn]

A demonstration of how to order food in the futuristic smart restaurant on show at the Computing Conference 2017 held in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, on Thursday, October 12, 2017. [Photo: thepaper.cn]

It is expected to be put into commercial use within a year, according to an Ant Financial employee at the exhibition.

Although the dining tables on display cost thousands of yuan, restaurants that are keen to adopt the technology won't need to pay a fortune. "Projection technology will be used to facilitate self-ordering at dining tables in the near future," said the employee.

Apart from futuristic restaurant, new technology has also been applied in other experimental settings at the conference, such as healthcare, travel and accommodation.

The Computing Conference 2017 will last until Saturday, with examples of facial recognition, big data, and artificial intelligence on display. The exhibition will travel to Guangdong, Suzhou and Beijing later in the year.

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