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The art of sushi-making is a long tradition in Japan, with students training 10 or more years to become a shokunin or Japanese sushi chef.
But in Japan, some developers are working to take the business of making sushi out of human hands.
The "SushiBot", from maker Suzumo which claims to have developed the world’s first sushi robot in 1981, has a countertop machine that churns out oblong rice mounds at up to 3,600 mounds per hour, Wired.com reports.
Here's how it works: The bot grabs a chunk of rice from a top-mounted rice bucket and shapes into a pellet that’s then placed on a revolving platform. Later, a piece of fish will rest atop the rice, and the nigiri sushi will be ready to go.
It also has a second machine that makes medium sized sushi --about 300 rolls an hour. It clumps together rice to make the perfect rice pallet for nigri sushi and makes a roll from scratch — rice, seaweed, and fish — in 12 seconds.
The machines were on display at the World Food and Beverage Great Expo 2012 in Tokyo this week..
So in the battle of man versus machine, is the SushiBot better?
In a YouTube video, Suzumo states its aim is to "to precisely recreate the handmade taste and technique used by an experienced sushi chef." But some would say no machine compares to the human touch when creating sushi masterpieces.
But if we're talking speed, Wired notes that according to the Guinness Book of World Records, Joakim Lundblad is the world’s fastest sushi roller with a record of 12 rolls in two minutes, compared with the 10 rolls in two minutes from Suzumo’s-rolling machine. So for the time being, man wins.
You may not want these massive contraptions on your countertop at home, but it is likely that places like supermarkets, sporting venues, schools, and hospitals may want to serve up some fresh sushi.
Check out the medium-sized sushi making machine at work: