Next time you order a burger and fries at your favorite restaurant, the chef in the kitchen could be a robot. The burger flipping assistant robot made by Miso Robotics is being tested to “man” the flattop grill at some restaurants in California.  

Cooking is a dangerous job that can lead to burns and other kitchen accidents for employees. If a robot can do the same job, with the same results, why shouldn’t they be part of a modern restaurant kitchen?

The robot, named Flippy, is a wheeled cart with a 6-axis robotic arm and sensors. Flippy uses thermal sensors, 3D sensors and cameras to “look at” the grill or fryer and the surrounding area of the kitchen. A digital system can be used to give Flippy its orders. Flippy uses a variety of tools to operate the grill that can be swapped out using a pneumatic pump.

The robot places the burgers on the grill, keeps track of cooking time and temperature and alerts the human employees when it’s time to add extras like cheese and condiments. The finishing touches and wrappings must all be added by a human.

What sets Flippy apart from other food prep robots is that it is AI and machine learning -enabled. This means that this robot can learn how to cook new foods or perform other techniques, such as slicing or frying. As the technology evolves, robots may start to replace humans in kitchen jobs that are repetitive and dangerous.

Written by IEEE on June 5, 2017