29 Mayo 2018 12:42
Whether you’re vegan or vegetarian and prefer your burgers veggie-style or a fully-fledged carnivore in search of the perfect hamburger, you’ll agree that Miso Robotics’ automated burger flipper is an impressive piece of equipment! Dubbed ‘Flippy’ by its creators at California based Miso Robotics, it is able to flip up to 300 burgers an hour using an array of cameras, lasers, thermal scanners and computer algorithms.
Creators Miso Robotics have recently sourced further investment to the tune of $10m from new investors including Acacia Research Corporation and Levy, a hospitality company based in Chicago that operates a number of existing restaurants and vending machines throughout the U.S. and U.K. It adds this to the $4m it previously procured and Flippy is now set to be installed in 50 CaliBurger restaurants.
CEO and co-founder Dave Zito said: 'We’re super stoked to use this funding to develop and scale our capabilities of our kitchen assistants and AI platform' and that the investment of Levy is based around their belief in a future where people increasingly want prepared food. In a world where our lives are becoming increasingly time poor, this seems to be a sound investment.
The fast food industry in the United States alone has grown by almost $30bn over the last 10 years and despite more and more calls by doctors and health professionals for us to be more conscious of what we eat, predictions suggest an even faster rate of growth in the years to come.
However, despite Flippy’s plethora of high tech gadgetry, it still has its limits and rather than being a replacement for humans in its current form it is being touted and used to augment overworked staff in busy restaurants.
First, a human worker needs to place the burgers on the grill. Flippy is then able to time how long the burgers have been cooking and use its machine vision ‘magic’ to locate them on the grill and use a spatula connected to its mechanical arm to flip the burger. Once flipped, more human interaction is needed to add the cheese, but Flippy can finish things off from here; timing cooking to perfection and then removing the burger from the grill and placing it in the burger bun.
Human staff are still required to take customer orders and the finished burger does need to be assembled by a person. It’s also worth remembering that the burger is only one part of a typical fast-food meal and as of yet, no machines are in place to replicate the other necessary tasks.
However, while everything else is being taken care of by the overworked staff, Flippy can change spatulas to adhere to food hygiene and safety standards and even do the dirty jobs like cleaning the grill that nobody else wants to!
Interesting? Absolutely. The future? Maybe. Cause for workers to be concerned about their jobs? Hopefully not. Not now at least. Miso Robotics’ ‘Flippy’ is definitely a step in the direction of full automation and someday, possibly human replacement, but for now it is only capable of being a kitchen assistant.