Writing robots have become a hot topic online recently after a student in Harbin, the capital of northeastern China’s Heilongjiang province, used one to complete her handwritten homework during Spring Festival.
Xie Xun, the creator of the robot, said it was designed to be a machine that could help people complete drafts of drawings, but it was also able to simulate people’s handwriting.
However, Xie from Ningbo in eastern China’s Zhejiang province, said he had not expected that writing robots would be used in such a way by students.
A junior high school student in Harbin used the machine to quickly complete her handwritten homework over the Spring Festival holiday, but her ruse was discovered by her mother.
The student’s mother, surnamed Zhang, said she was surprised when her daughter finished her handwritten homework in two days without any mistakes. After her daughter admitted using the help of a writing robot bought online for 800 yuan ($118), Zhang broke the robot.
According to the product description on enterprise data platform Tianyancha, a patent for the machine was successfully applied for in 2016. The machine, which can be controlled by a mobile phone, computer or other electronic devices, can simulate a person’s handwriting or drawing after adding a pattern to be drawn or a word to be written into its program.
It is designed for repetitive writing or drawing situations such as invitations.
“The machine is very easy to take apart and assemble, and it can be used after putting the program into the computer,” Xie said, adding that it was originally designed to help artists, who spend a very long time completing their work, with their drafts.
A video on the Beijing News website shows the writing robot using a fountain pen to perfectly reproduce Chinese characters much faster than a person could write them.
A retailer on Taobao, China’s biggest e-commerce platform, said the writing robot can write at about 40 words per minute, and most of his customers are students.
He said it is not difficult to distinguish between a person’s handwriting and that of the writing robot because the robot’s writing is flawless.
Xie said children are good at using technology, which might be a good thing as it stimulated their interest in exploring it.
“We only provide people with our products; how they will be used is up to the user,” Xie said.