It's never been a particularly sought-after job but now flipping burgers may not be a job for humans at all. Meet Flippy, a new "robotic kitchen assistant" from Miso Robotics that, as its name suggests, will automate the process of cooking those juicy patties.
As Miso Robotics CEO and co-founder David Zito told TechCrunch, "We focus on using AI and automation to solve the high pain points in restaurants and food prep. That's the dull, dirty and dangerous work around the grill, the fryer, and other prep work like chopping onions. The idea is to help restaurants improve food quality and safety without requiring a major kitchen redesign."
Promising to be "portable, collaborative, and adaptable," and "designed for real working kitchens," Flippy is a cart-like contraption that comes with a six-axis robotic arm and a "sensor bar." Simply set up Flippy next to a standard grill or fryer, and it will detect necessary data from a thermal sensor, 3D sensors, and various cameras to help it detect its surroundings. It can even take your food orders directly thanks to a system that sends a ticket from the cashier straight to the kitchen.
While Flippy may not have the creativity of a chef, it does pretty well as a line cook. It's capable of unwrapping burger patties, placing them on the grill, keeping tabs on the meat's cook time and temperature, and letting its human counterparts know when they are ready to be taken off the heat. Of course, it still needs some help from our species, as Flippy isn't (yet) able to add condiments or wrap up the finished products.
But Flippy is certainly pretty smart. Because it employs Miso Robotics' artificial intelligence software, this robot is continuously learning and absorbing new recipes, which means that it can be helpful no matter what is on the menu. Still, if you're looking to go to culinary school, don't let Flippy discourage you. "Tasting food and creating recipes will always be the purview of a chef. And restaurants are gathering places where we go to interact with each other," Zito concluded. "Humans will always play a very critical role in the hospitality side of the business given the social aspects of food. We just don't know what the new roles will be yet in the industry."