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The automated cook of the future has arrived

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When it comes to the life of the rich and famous, the thing I envy the most is not the giant mansions or ludicrously priced sports cars – though I definitely wouldn’t mind driving them – but rather their ability to afford butlers and personal chefs to wait on their every need. As a lazy guy, I find that much more preferable than having large pieces of real estate to look after.

It’s a dream that may become more possible in the future thanks to the growth of robots who will do all those unnecessary tasks that we don’t want to. Until they take over the world and the fortunes are reversed, of course. One such robot which has already been built to do this for us is named Flippy, from Miso Electronics.

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This robot, whose full name is Flippy ROAR (Robot-on-a-Rail) consists of a robotic arm that operates from a rail that is connected to the ceiling and features machine learning to identify different foodstuffs. Flippy can navigate through its the environment with a camera array (which includes a 3D depth-sensing camera from Intel and a thermal camera) and is able to grab food items, wield utensils and pots to automate anything from simple food preparation to using fryers and grills to cook the food to your liking.

According to the company, Flippy ROAR can now cook 19 food items, flip burgers, operate grills and fryers, perform grill maintenance and cleaning and its speciality is making foods like burgers, chicken tenders, chicken wings, popcorn shrimp, French fries, potato wedges, hash browns, onion rings, and waffle fries. Though the real question though is whether it can braai a mean stukkie wors and lamb chop, otherwise it still needs some work.

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The idea behind its Rail design is to keep the robot out of the way of others in a big kitchen, while it can be operated by a 15-inch touch screen where you can give it instructions and commands on what to do next. The Flippy is obviously aimed at commercial kitchens and large-scale kitchen requirements and sadly not for being my own personal butler – though I could certainly try – which also explains its mammoth cost of $30,000. It’s still a lot of money but the company is aiming to make the technology cheaper and even offer it out for rent in the US at a cost of $1500 a month. If it takes off and finds success in kitchens there, its only a matter of time before we see them locally and see places like fast-food restaurants where this type of kitchen automation is perhaps most useful.

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That’s right, the robots are coming soon, and their plan is to take over the world by conquering our stomachs.

Last Updated: October 12, 2020

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