This week, I had a chance to visit wine country to check out what the world of fine dining is thinking about things like food robots. I was down in Napa Valley at the reThink Food conference, where I spent three days talking to chefs, restaurateurs and food execs about how tech will change the culinary world.
Near the end of the conference, I caught up with some familiar faces (or maybe I should say buttons and batter dispensers) to see the latest capabilities of some of my favorite food robots.
The bot I was most excited to see was the Morirobo. The crepe making robot first debuted in the US at the 2017 Smart Kitchen Summit, so it was good to see Morirobo (and its inventor and namesake, Hirofumi Mori) back stateside to show off its new multicolor crepe making capability.
As is almost always the case with robots, it’s better to show than tell, so here’s a video of the Morirobo making a large tri-colored crepe:
World-changing? Maybe not, but I have to say a gigantic multicolored crepe is a crowd pleaser. I can already see the lines forming at fairs and festivals across the US (or even in hotel lobbies as the cool new replacement for that breakfast bar waffle maker) for giant multicolored crepes.
Then there was the latest version of Sally the Salad Robot from Chowbotics. I caught a video of Carnegie Mellon professor of robotics (and inventor of crazy snake monster robots) Howie Choset ordering a salad from Sally:
After years of development, Sally finally started selling to customers in January of this year. Since its release, Sally has updated software that enables it to make non-salad food like grain bowls, yogurt bowls and more. That’s good news for Sally owners since more meals per day means recouping the foodbot’s $30 thousand price tag much faster.
Since going on sale, there are currently about 40 or so Sallies in the wild. According to a company representative, while corporate cafeterias are the most common location for a Sally, universities (two at Stanford) and airports (Buffalo airport in NY) are other places you can now get a salad (or yogurt bowl) from Sally.