Would your burger taste as delicious if it was made by a robot?
You’ll soon be able to find out at CaliBurger restaurants in the US and worldwide.
Cali Group partnered with Miso Robotics to develop Flippy the burger robot, which made its debut this week at the Pasadena, California CaliBurger.
Miso and Cali Group aren’t calling Flippy a mere robot, though; it’s a robotic kitchen assistant. And it’s not the first of its kind. San Francisco-based Momentum Machines has also been working on a burger bot for a few years.
Flippy brings some fresh tech to the table (no pun intended). Whereas in the past a typical assembly line robot (say at a car factory) needed everything lined up perfectly in front of them—precisely and consistently positioned—to do their work, robots like Flippy are using the latest round of machine learning software to locate and identify what’s in front of them and learn from experience.
That is, Flippy’s flexibility is a great example of robots becoming more flexible, in general.
Miso’s CEO compared Flippy to a self-driving car because of the way both use feedback loops to reach higher levels of performance.
Flippy doesn’t look much like how you may imagine a robot either. Its body is a small cart on wheels, and it has no legs and just one arm. The arm’s six axes give it a wide range of motion and allow it to perform multiple functions (as opposed to simply moving up and down or back and forth).
There’s an assortment of detachable tools the bot can use to help it cook, including tongs, scrapers, and spatulas, and a pneumatic pump lets it swap one tool for another, rather than a human having to change it out.
Combined with its AI software, these tools will allow Flippy to eventually expand its chefdom beyond just burgers—it could learn to make items like chicken or fish.
Some of Flippy’s key tasks include pulling raw patties from a stack and placing them on the grill, tracking each burger’s cook time and temperature, and transferring cooked burgers to a plate.
"CaliBurger has committed to using Flippy in at least 50 of its restaurants worldwide over the next two years."
Flippy can’t single-handedly take a burger from raw to ready, though. Rather than adding extra ingredients itself, the bot alerts human cooks when it’s time to put cheese on a grilling patty. People also need to add sauce and toppings once the patty is cooked, as well as wrap the burgers that are ready to eat. Reportedly, Momentum Machines is working to include some of these additional burger assembly steps into its system....MORE