On 10 March 2017, a revolutionary burger-flipping robot finished its first day of working in place of a human at the grill of a restaurant in California. Nicknamed ‘Flippy’, the robot has just been installed at fast-food chain, Caliburger, where it has perfected the art of creating a delicious beef patty. The system, supposedly able to be installed in just five minutes, was created by Miso Robotics. According to the company’s website, the “portable, collaborative and adaptable kitchen assistant is at the forefront of kitchen robotics, boasting a modern design and the ability to learn from prior experience”. Designed to “empower” the chef, the robot can assist in consistently providing top quality food.The robot has a myriad of functions, assisting a chef with grilling, frying, peppering and plating. Using a series of sensors, cameras, and artificial intelligence programming, the robot works in unison with a chef, heating and flipping the beef patty until it’s perfectly cooked, then transferring it to a bun, effectively speeding up the cooking method, augmenting the cooking experience and eradicating human errors. David Zito, chief executive officer of Miso Robotics has advertised the adaptability of the robot, informing the public that despite initially only being able to perform the simple task of cooking the patty that their “…proprietary AI software allows for our kitchen assistant to be adaptable and therefore can be trained to help with almost any dull, dirty or dangerous task in a commercial kitchen- whether it’s frying chicken, cutting vegetables or final plating”.
Although the price of ‘Flippy’ is yet to be revealed, if all goes well with the ‘original’ Flippy in Pasadena, Caliburger will install a further 50 robots in various restaurants from the Caliburger chain around the country. The company intends to achieve this goal by 2019. Despite this breakthrough in robotic technology, the introduction of ‘Flippy’ has left many employees worried that their jobs are in jeopardy. If ‘Flippy’ entirely replaced human cooks, around 2.3 million jobs across America would become redundant. As the technology becomes more and more capable of performing the everyday tasks of regular cooks, it’s becoming increasingly unnecessary, some believe, to even have humans working in restaurant kitchens at all. The CEO of the company has reassured the public; “Tasting food and creating recipes will always be the purview of a chef… Humans will always play a very critical role in the hospitality side of the business given the social aspects of food”.
Photo: Mad World News