Spongebob’s days as a fry cook will soon be over. Somewhat. But while Spongebob is a fictional character, the robot that will be flipping burgers and putting them on buns definitely isn’t. It’s called Flippy and it’s nothing but a smaller and more dexterous version of a stereotypical robotic arm. But unlike those industrial machines designed more for power, Miso Robotics designed Flippy to be fast, precise, and smart. All for the purpose of having it flip burgers and then, when properly fried, place them on buns.
Before you knock Flippy as just some mindless sponge-hating machine, do think about what it takes to cook burgers. You have to place the patties on the frier, lay out the buns, put the other ingredients on the bun, check if one side of the patty is cooked, flip it, wait for that other side to cook, place it on the bun, and then place the other half of the bun on top. These are the steps that human cooks will have taken for granted after days of repetition. Almost ironically, a robot would actually require a bit more brains to do even just a fraction of that.
Flippy isn’t just an arm but actually a more complex system. It has sensors, particularly cameras, that can sees the location of the patty and the bun. It can check when a patty is cooked and flips it over. And once done, it picks it up and places it on an empty bun. It can even get out of the way of the human who still has to place the patties on the grill. And, yes, it uses artificial intelligence for all of those.
Luckily for human employees, Miso Robotics can’t yet replace them with robots. Flippy can flip burgers and place them on buns, and that’s pretty much it. Humans still have to place the patties on the grill, lay out the buns for Flippy to fill, and cover said buns. Flippy simply saves them from the greasy, and sometimes dangerous, task of actually cooking the burgers.
Flippy is just one of Miso Robotics’ “kitchen assistants”. It envisions that more such smart robots will eventually perform more rote and risky tasks in the future. But rather than be a reason for unemployment, such robots could help free up human workers, particular cooks and chefs, to do what no robot can do: socialize with customers.
SOURCE: Miso Robotics