Inside OPPO’s Intelligent Imaging Labs: Robots and Photography

Clearly everyone wanted a selfie from OPPO's hardest-working robot at the Intelligent Imaging Labs.

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As someone who’s been covering OPPO devices for years now, I know how much the company is invested in ensuring that its imaging capabilities are up to snuff. They’ve been investing in their own imaging algorithms, partnering with Medium-format camera superstars, Hasselblad, and have continuously surprised us by stuffing their smartphone devices with the best camera systems they can find – like how they squeezed in flagship Sony IMX 809 sensor cameras on the OPPO Find N3 Flip.

Okay, so they’re obsessed with imaging – as any decent smartphone brand should. But OPPO went above and beyond this as evident in how high-tech their Intelligent Imaging Labs are. We got a first-hand look at the sprawling facility during their OPPO Tech Insider Media Junket held last November 22-23 in China and were we flabbergasted!

Scenarios for Every Photo

The OPPO Intelligent Imaging Labs is a huge floor with several different photo-shoot scenarios with varying lighting scenarios as well. When we visited, there were about 6-7 activated areas with key lights and 3 areas where the robot arms routinely worked through their testing.

Majority of the testing centered around the living room space which is one of the biggest setups in the area and one of the few you’ll see first upon entering the facility.  The area tests the phone’s photo condition indoors with fluorescent lighting, but the curtains across the huge window can be mechanically drawn as well to let in natural light. In fact, there are certain selfie tests done with that as well, checking on images that are against the light to test photo algorithms and other micro-calibrations.


Further down, we also saw fast food interior setups, Chinese restaurants with fake food displayed Lauriat-style, and bars and darkened KTV rooms for low-light photography. OPPO pretty much thought of every major scenario where you whip your phones out to take photos and recreated them inside this space.

What’s interesting, at least to us, is that the ones doing the testing aren’t humans but huge robots programmed to roam around and take various shots in a fixed sequential pattern.

The Robotic Arms

The OPPO Intelligent Imaging Labs is home to a number of giant mobile robotic arms that can be programmed to continuously perform certain tasks in scary precision. When we visited, the three robots went about their ways and stayed in specific locations throughout the facility. One settled on the bar at the far left of the facility, the other on what looked like a hotel lobby with warm lighting. The last Robot arm lovingly referred to as Ate Robot by us Pinoy Tech Media people, settled on the living room for a bunch of selfie tests.

That particular Robot arm is the star of the show as far as we can tell as it’s the only one with an actual face to the machine – that of a life-like mannequin based on an OPPO employee.

Who is that girl I see?

Meet the most beautiful robot amidst the robot arms inside the Huawei Intelligent Imaging Labs. Watch her glide through the corridors effortlessly and put on a smile regardless of how many tasks she’s asked to do. This is, perhaps, one of the main highlights of the trip (albeit a wee bit creepy one), considering that OPPO fitted a robot arm with a life-like mannequin head molded after an actual OPPO Employee (we were told she gave her consent).

This test anchors the selfie camera towards a fixed subject and when other people tried to take selfies with her (me included), you can see how the selfie camera’s algorithm would recognize other people in the frame and adjust the focal length when needed. These are just some of the many tests these robots conduct throughout the sequence.

When people obstruct the robot’s path, they have sensitive sensors to ensure that they don’t bump into objects and other people.

According to Dengue Xie, Senior Test Development Engineer at the OPPO Intelligent Imaging Labs, the Robot helpers speed the testing and data collection from days to mere hours – giving engineers more time to calibrate and perfect the imaging of each new OPPO smartphone that will come out in the market. During our visit, the robot arms were fitted with the all-powerful OPPO Find X6.

I’ve visited the OPPO HQ and Guangdong Factory in China a total of three times now and each time I’m amazed at how fast the company builds another portion or expands another sector to improve their workflow and optimize production. The Intelligent Imaging Labs is just one of the many innovative R&D processes that OPPO employs per smartphone release – ensuring that nothing is left to chance.

If you find this interesting, you should check out how OPPO utilizes MR or Mixed Reality to help usher in a truly augmented tech lifestyle.

We’d like to thank OPPO for the opportunity to visit their facilities once again and we cannot wait to see what else the brand has in store for the pinoy tech consumers in years to come.