Miso Robotics announced last week that in addition to cooking hamburgers, Flippy the robot is now a full-fledged frying machine after going through a pilot program at Dodger Stadium this summer.
According to the press announcement, Flippy has been working as a frying assistant since the end of July, and in that time has helped cook and serve more than ten thousand pounds of chicken tenders and tater tots, producing as much as 80 baskets per hour.
The Flippy platform started its culinary career at Caliburger, where it uses an array of computer vision, thermal sensors and AI to autonomously cook hamburgers. This summer, Miso began the pilot at Dodger Stadium to expand Flippy’s capabilities.
At the fryer, Flippy uses the Miso See, Miso Serve and Miso Move technologies to fry up the aforementioned tenders and tots. Miso See allows Flippy to identify food, cookware and utensils. Miso Serve helps the robot make real-time cooking decisions. Miso Move controls Flippy’s movements to make sure it is working safely and efficiently. All together, Flippy can put full baskets in the fry oil, monitor the cooking time (and gently shake the baskets while cooking), remove the baskets to drain the oil, and set the food at a designated location for serving.
With the pilot wrapping up successfully, it’s a safe bet that Flippy will be making its way to more stadiums over the next year. Levy, a Chicago hospitality firm that runs a number of sports and entertainment venues as well as convention centers, is an investor in Miso.
Flippy is among the first wave of robots that will be assisting/taking over food production in high-traffic areas. Robots like Flippy are perfect for sporting venues because they can work non-stop without needing a break, and can take on the more dangerous work such as frying food without getting hurt. Zume pizza is another company using robots for more dangerous work, employing automated assistants for pulling dough out of hot ovens.
Companies like Caliburger and Zume both say that robots help free up humans to do higher level tasks, which is true. But in settings like stadiums, the object is more about speed and volume, so it’s not hard to envision a future where ‘bots like Flippy take more jobs and reduce the number of people needed to run food establishments there.
It’s a sticky issue and one that we’ll be tackling at our upcoming Smart Kitchen Summit in Seattle next month. I’ll be moderating a panel with people from Cafe X, Zimplistic and Chowbotics to discuss the evolution of robots, and we’re sure to touch on what that means for humans. Get your ticket to come and join the conversation!