Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Robot burger flipper Flipper gets upgrades after just one shift

After only a single shift at the CaliBurger restaurant in Pasadena Caifornia, Flipper the robot burger-flipper is taking time off over the weekend in order to have a few upgrades.
Flipper created by Miso Robotics
Miso Robotics is a start-up based in Pasadena that designs and manufactures AI-driven robots to assist chefs to make food at restaurants.
As can be seen in the appended video, Flipper is basically an industrial robot arm that has a spatula attached to it. It uses machine vision to locate the burgers on the grill, time how long they have been cooking and flip them when appropriate.
According to reports it did its job well and was a hit with customers. However, Miso spokesperson Stephanie Cirigliano said the company wants to perform tests on the robot to ensure it can fulfill a large number of orders.
Flipper will be back on duty next week but only on a limited shift during the busy lunch hour to help out.
Burger jobs still safe

Flipper only flips the burgers. Humans still need to do everything else including preparing the burger and adding the trimmings taking customer orders and taking the food to them. While Flipper offers some help, for the time being, it is mostly earning its keep by attracting customers.
Caliburger intends to install Flipper in 50 different locations around the U.S. as robots gain new occupations in the food industry.
Startup Momentum Machines
The company raised $18 million to take its burger robots into fast food restaurants.
In 2012 Momentum Machines debuted a robot capable of making 400 made-to-order burger within just an hour. The machine is fully autonomous being able to slice toppings, grill the patty and finally bag the burger without any human intervention.
Yet, the firm is still working on its first retail location from at least June of 2017. No opening date has yet been announced but it is expected to be located in San Francisco's South of Market area. Momentum's robots will obviously replace jobs now performed by humans.
Chinese restaurants replacing waiters with robots

Some Chinese restaurants began to replace waiters with robots as early as 2006. However, many have proved not to be very competent. Their main advantage is that they are cheaper than human waiters. The cost of a robot waiter is approximately $1,200 and that is equivalent to just a couple of months salary for a human waiter.
As with Flipper though, one main positive feature of the robot waiters is that their novelty attracts customers. It may be some time yet before robots are a serious challenge to human jobs in the restaurant business.
Previously published in Digital Journal

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