Robotics

Flippy robot takes over the hamburger station in California restaurant

Flippy robot takes over the ha...
Flippy flips hamburgers, but is designed to be a more general kitchen assistant
Flippy flips hamburgers, but is designed to be a more general kitchen assistant
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Flippy flips hamburgers, but is designed to be a more general kitchen assistant
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Flippy flips hamburgers, but is designed to be a more general kitchen assistant
Flippy does not require kitchen modifications
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Flippy does not require kitchen modifications
Flippy can transfer the patties to the buns
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Flippy can transfer the patties to the buns
Flippy uses computer vision to keep an eye on the grill and work with human chefs
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Flippy uses computer vision to keep an eye on the grill and work with human chefs
The Flippy robot
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The Flippy robot
An exploded view of the Flippy robot
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An exploded view of the Flippy robot
Flippy installed at a kitchen station
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Flippy installed at a kitchen station

At a Caliburger restaurant in Pasadena, California, Miso Robotics and Cali Group have taken the wraps off Flippy, a "collaborative kitchen assistant" that uses computer vision and deep learning to take over the job of grilling burger patties and leaving the chef to do the less grease-spattery jobs of assembling the sandwiches.

According to Miso Robotics, Flippy is a low cost, stand-alone robot designed to be used in restaurant kitchens without the need for special modifications. Using computer vision and an adaptable deep learning system, it's designed to handle the tedious job of watching and flipping burger patties.

Not only doesn't Flippy mind spending hours in front of a hot, grease-spattering grill, but it can identify what is on the grill (including an intruding human hand), judge its degree of doneness, and transfer the burgers to the bun for a human chef to complete assembly. In addition, it can adapt to and avoid bumping into its human co-workers for greater safety.

Flippy uses computer vision to keep an eye on the grill and work with human chefs
Flippy uses computer vision to keep an eye on the grill and work with human chefs

"Much like self-driving vehicles, our system continuously learns from its experiences to improve over time," says David Zito, CEO of Miso Robotics. "Though we are starting with the relatively 'simple' task of cooking burgers, our proprietary AI software allows our kitchen assistants to be adaptable and therefore can be trained to help with almost any dull, dirty or dangerous task in a commercial kitchen — whether it's frying chicken, cutting vegetables, or final plating."

Flippy is still in the demo stage, but is scheduled to start work early next year before expanding into 50 Caliburgers worldwide in 2019. The company says that workers displaced by the robot will be transferred to dining room duty where the human touch is still preferred.

The video below shows Flippy in action.

Source: Miso Robotics

FLIPPY | Miso Robotics

10 comments
aki009
Another example of high minimum wages motivating the displacement of those earning said minimum wage...
DrRobo Dawg
@aki009 Agreed! Away with minimum wages all together. That way no matter how efficient and cost effective these machines get, we can always pay the workers less. Better to have a job that doesn't pay enough to survive than to have no job at all.
Kpar
Yup, as minimum wages increase, businesses see alternative ways of reducing their expenses. This tech would go nowhere at a $7 minimum, but $15? And I do not understand how the gov gets to tell struggling business owners how much they have to shell out. Who's money is it anyway?
Dan Lewis
I guess this device is okay as a proof of concept, otherwise, it's much too slow.
Lardo
You don't get it, DrRobo. Minimum wage jobs are not meant to be life "supporting", but rather entry level. You know... for those pimple-faced youngsters to get early job experience. To learn, among other things, the importance of showing up every day, and on time. But when you raise the minimum at McDonald to $15.00/hr, those jobs go away. And now little Johnny has nowhere to get that all important first job experience. That is so necessary for getting the next, and the next, and the next job(s) that lead to better, life supporting wages. No one's going to pay big bucks to somebody with no job history.
Bob Flint
That grill is so underutilized, maybe the gripper requires way too much space. What's the protocol, when it drops one? Who gets the job of cleaning & maintaining this thing, awful lot of wasted floor space & danger around this swinging arm. How does it handle flame grilled burgers?
EZ
"Deep Learning?" If that's true, maybe there's still hope for us mortals.
TimothyRichburg
Not practical yet, but proof of concept is applicable. Just one question, with all the moving parts, vice hands, would seem difficult to keep sanitary. Wait, does it clean itself and recycles the grease? I guess there is hope for those minimal wage jobs after all.
PAV
Um, you still have to place the burger and the cheese? All this does is flip a burger? What a waste of money. Look at all the space between burgers, this wouldn't handle rush Hour. I am amazed that the patty "grabber" has to drop the patty because the angle when it is flipped isn't compensated for. I think a spatula with a "finger fork" assist would have been much more space saving on the grill and allow for more burgers on the grill. Why doesn't this thing place the burger and the cheese?
SatoruRyu
McDonald's and Burger King found out how to negate the needs for flipping burgers decades ago. McD's has clam shell grills heated on both sides and Burger King has a grated conveyor belt cooking the burgers. McDonald's clamshell grills https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mj7_a1Egew Burger King broiler https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkPFkbvlWgk