Brace yourself, robots — ala Star Wars — are invading our daily lives. Already robots have taken over many humdrum jobs once performed by mere mortals, thus reducing employment costs drastically, and soon, you may find them in restaurant kitchens.
Rebecca Cheney, Research and Partnerships Manager at the Institute of the Future writes, “Today’s robotics can actually mimic human gestures that you’d need for cooking.”
Robots that cook? Slice and dice? Season your food? Prepare it your way? The prototype has been built and tested.
There’s been lots of interest from fast food chains in Momentum Machines, the brainchild of “a small collective of foodies and engineers with decades of robotics and restaurant experience” who came together in 2009.
Co-founder Alexandros Vardakosta and his partners have the goal of “reducing overhead by creating a machine that can do tasks better than humans – faster and more sanitary.” Their robot can press hamburger patties, chop toppings, perfectly season the meat and give you just what you want before the hamburger pops out just as you ordered. Because of the reduction in staffing cost, the food will be of higher quality, yet cost the same as fast food.
Momentum Machines soon may be opening a restaurant in the SoMa district of San Francisco featuring their robotic machine that can produce 360 hamburgers – the way you like it – per hour. Originally scheduled to debut in late 2016, the official opening is not yet scheduled.
In case you are wondering, yes, there will be an employee or two to open and close the restaurant, oversee the bots and clean up. Not everything can be automated – yet!
Other food service robots now in use include: The Pancake Bot can create a pancake of any design and is controlled by your smartphone; Foxbot cuts noodles from dough; the Makr Shakr bot creates cocktails like a professional bartender; Kawasaki created a robot that can assemble nigiri (sushi) in under a minute; Zume’s robot makes pizza and soon there may be a robot in your personal kitchen that can cook about 2,000 different meals from scratch.
A Pew Study indicates robots will be a big part of our daily life by 2025 — a mere 8 years away — and businesses will not be subjected to the whims of legislatures that dictate wage and benefit packages.
Robots already come trained to perform tasks and don’t take holidays, sick days, vacation days or ask for raises.