With advancements in automation and robotics, it won't be long before robots actually replace humans. Businesses have already started replacing machines with humans to perform manual tasks like self-driving robot waiters to deliver food at restaurants and robot butlers to fulfil room service requests at hotels.
Now, several California-based restaurants have started employing robots to dish out burgers and chicken fingers to hungry customers.
What can these robots do?
Flippy, designed by Miso Robotics, is the world's first autonomous kitchen assistant that can learn from its surroundings and acquire new skills over time. The robot is equipped with next-gen chips, motors, sensors, and processing power that allow it to grab a fryer basket full of chicken fingers, dunk it in hot oil (its sensors detect exactly how hot the oil is), then lift, drain and then unload the fingers into a waiting hopper.
The machine also monitors burger patties sizzling on a griddle and thanks to camera eyes and a machine vision brain, Flippy waits until the beef patty turns the perfect shade of brown, and then in a smooth and swift motion, slips its spatula hand under the patty, flips it on its side and once cooked, places it on a food tray.
Cost-effective option to humans
Although the robots made their debut in 2016, they have only recently become cost-effective enough for establishments to use them as a viable and economic alternative to human employees. The robots' pricing has come down significantly over the last few years from $100,000 a unit to just under $10,000 today, with cheaper variants coming in the future.
Alternatively, Flippys can also be leased to fast food chains for $2,000 a month, which translates to about $3 an hour, if used all day, every day. In comparison, a human employee can cost anywhere between $4,000 and $10,000 a month, depending on a restaurant's opening hours and the local minimum wage and let's not forget the most important benefit of using these robots instead of humans: they never call in sick.
A number of fast-food establishments have already employed Flippy robots to flip burgers and dump chicken fingers in their kitchens. These include a restaurant in Pasadena, the Dodger Stadium in addition to several outlets of the fast-food chain, CaliBurger. In the future, Miso also plans to roll out versions of Flippy that can be suspended from the ceiling, freeing up more space in kitchens with limited real estate. Check out the robot in action below: