With a stainless steel body that puts it at home in an industrial kitchen, a burger-flipping robot is ready for its assistant chef hat.
Named “Flippy,” the robot combines of delicate handling with a cooking artificial intelligence that allows it to assist with difficult cooking tasks. Made by Miso Robotics, a startup based in Pasadena, Flippy is pitched as a kitchen assistant, and not a robotic replacement for chefs.
In a publicity video released this week, the robot takes over the grill for a young chef, saving the poor kid from being splattered with burning oil for hours. And to be fair, if anything is going to spend its days having to deal with burning oil, it should be a robot.
And according to the promo video, “Flippy loves its job.” And the mission statement for Mission Robotics, the Pasadena-based firm that made Flippy, offers altruistic mission statement: “Develop technology that assists and empowers chefs to make food consistently and perfectly, at prices everyone can afford.”
From the point of view of the robot, the different items on the grill are easy to identify and deal with in different ways. Flippy has different cameras and sensors that allow it to monitor a grill, from uncooked burgers to the difference between a top bun and a bottom bun.
Since the A.I. cooking software seems to include mostly food tracking, making perfect burgers is probably based on some kind of timing, meat type, and heat algorithm. In the top right corner of the video looks to be a heat view out of the grill, showing Flippy what temperatures things are. The company says that Flippy can make perfect burgers.
The A.I. tracking allows it to collaborate with human chefs, allowing it to avoid a person’s hand while they put cheese on a burger, and put finished burgers on buns set off the grill. Anyone who’s made the occasional burger has gotten splattered over a grill, and people who spend eight hours a day flipping end up with burns all over their arms. It’s a dangerous job that pays very little, so getting Flippy to do the time over the grill while letting people deal with the burgers before and after, is probably for the best.
Although the video only shows Flippy doing work at the grill, Miso Robotics proudly shows off photos of the robot executing a deep-fryer drop, chopping vegetables, and even plating dishes. These tasks are similarly likely to end up with burns or cuts, and robots can probably handle that better. And while getting the robot into a fast food kitchen to spare a lot of high school kids from hot oil burns is great, it looks like Flippy could also take on more than just flipping.