That Burger-Flipping Robot Has Been Ordered to Take a Vacation
Flippy, the burger-flipping robot that made its restaurant debut at Pasadena burger joint CaliBurger earlier this week, is taking an indefinite hiatus from the grill. Are the stresses of becoming a viral sensation combined with the rigors of the modern workplace too much for Flippy?
According to a report from USA Today, it’s more than job dissatisfaction plaguing the robot. While Flippy is now unplugged and out of commission for the foreseeable future, CaliBurger says it should be cooking again soon. Flippy just needed a break after the restaurant was inundated with customers seeking a futuristic burger.
As a matter of fact, it’s Flippy’s human helpers who need to step up their game. Flippy is trained to do one thing well: flip burgers. As a fancy floating spatula, however, Flippy is rather limited in its abilities. The robot can’t complete the entire process of making a burger on its own. Human workers are required to put cheese on the burger patties, season them, and put them within reach of the robotic arm. But the transition to human-robot collaboration isn’t always a smooth one. Employees doing prep work at the restaurant couldn’t keep up with the Flippy’s speed, and the entire chain of burger-to-customer broke down.
“With Flippy, you kind of need to work around his schedule,” Cali Group (CaliBurger’s parent company) CTO Anthony Lomelino told USA Today. “Choreographing the movements of what you do, when and how you do it.”
The autonomous burger chef worked its first shift on Monday, and already it’s become the king of the kitchen. According to Miso Robotics, Flippy’s creator, Flippy can cook up to 2,000 burgers a day, all grilled to perfection. “Miso A.I. combines 3D, thermal and regular vision to automatically detect when raw burger patties are placed on the grill and monitors each one in real-time throughout the cooking process,” the company said in a press release.
Still, even cutting-edge technology couldn’t stop Flippy from developing an immediate case of workplace ennui. It’s a valuable lesson for restaurants looking to utilize technological innovations — even when it comes to robots, there can still be too many cooks in the kitchen.