Robots Drop Meals From Ceiling at 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing

Beijing’s dining resembles a sci-fi movie now that robots hang from the ceiling, replacing human servers at the 2022 Olympics

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

If you thought China’s technology was advanced before, take a look at the robots now serving meals in Beijing at the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Similar to the symbolism of the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics mascots, Bing Dwen Dwen and Shuey Rhon Rhon, the host city’s aim is to highlight the careful balance between tradition and future technological advances. 

The Beijing Games are filled with conventionality -- intricate Olympic ceremonies, torch lightings, well-designed uniforms and of course, a full 15-sport coverage throughout the three-week contest. However, China is also showing the evolution of the Games through industrial innovation -- the robotic figurines serving meals to Olympic participants.

Check out what dining at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics looks like:

How are meals served at the 2022 Winter Olympics?

In efforts to minimize person-to-person contact, meal venues resemble sci-fi movie junctures. 

Robots hang from the ceiling in the press cafeteria, serving select cuisines individually, while other robots are actually cooking and preparing meals.

A worker waits for a robot processing an order at the dining hall of the Main Press Center ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, on January 28, 2022.
Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images
A worker waits for a robot processing an order at the dining hall of the Main Press Center ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, on January 28, 2022.

What types of meals will be served by robots at the Olympics?

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Giant arm-like structures deliver bowls of noodles from ceiling to table … a little different from farm to table. People then grab their meals from the robots and dine wherever they please, as the robots return to their ceiling locations.

Shift over to another sector of the cafeteria and you will see a robot acting as a barista, serving coffee, and another manning a bar, serving other drinks.

How do you order your meals from the robots?

The process is probably even more convenient than ordering from a human server at a restaurant. All you have to do is scan a QR code from your phone. Within 90 seconds, your drink is ready.

Talk about efficiency …

Are there precautions because of the COVID-19 pandemic?

With the current surge of COVID-19 faces athletes at the Games, despite the Games not even being in full swing yet, officials and participants are worrisome. Therefore, the ceiling robot fixtures will be used to avoid person-to-person contact during the pandemic. 

After all, these athletes have enough to worry about in terms of competition and COVID-19. If they test positive, their Olympic dreams can be crushed in a second. Beijing is doing everything they can to promote safety when it comes to situations like meal-time, which often inevitably severs social distance.

China has a zero-tolerance policy for the virus. COVID-19 officers will be monitoring social distance throughout the Games, and athletes are encouraged to avoid close contact, wear masks and of course, follow the mandatory testing protocol for the duration of the contest.

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