Flippy the robot uses AI to cook burgers

The secret sauce is computer vision and deep learning software.
Written by Kelly McSweeney, Contributor

VIDEO: Flippy the robot uses AI to flip burgers at fast food joints

Flippy the robot is starting its culinary career with one simple task, but just like any rookie, it is learning on the job. With some practice and training, Flippy will be able to do everything from chopping vegetables to plating meals like a pro. Miso Robotics created the robot, which debuted in a kitchen at the restaurant chain CaliBurger in Pasadena, Calif., this week.

"Flippy will initially only focus on flipping burgers and placing them on buns," David Zito, CEO of Miso Robotics tells ZDNet. He adds, "But since Flippy is powered by our own cooking AI software, it will continuously learn from its experiences to improve and adapt over time. This means Flippy will learn to take on additional tasks including grilling chicken, bacon, onions, and buns in addition to frying, prepping, and finishing plates. Eventually, Flippy will support CaliBurger's entire menu."

The robot can be installed in kitchens in less than five minutes, and it's designed to work alongside restaurant staff. Flippy will even politely move aside if it gets in someone's way. Computer vision and deep learning software make it much smarter than your average kitchen appliance.

"Flippy features a Sensor Bar allowing it to see in 3D, thermal, and regular vision for detecting the exact temperatures of the grill as well as readiness of each burger, which will expand to other menu items as Flippy continues to learn and adapt," says Zito.


Flippy uses computer vision and AI to cook burgers. (Image: Miso Robotics)

Flippy will be installed in more than 50 CaliBurger restaurants worldwide by the end of 2019.

"The application of artificial intelligence to robotic systems that work next to our employees in CaliBurger restaurants will allow us to make food faster, safer and with fewer errors," said John Miller, chairman of Cali Group, in a statement. "Our investment in Miso Robotics is part of our broader vision for creating a unified operating system that will control all aspects of a restaurant from in-store interactive gaming entertainment to automated ordering and cooking processes, 'intelligent' food delivery and real-time detection of operating errors and pathogens."

Automation is creeping into kitchens in many forms. This week, Chowbotics (formerly Casabots) announced that it raised $5 million of Series A funding for food service robots. Then there's also Grillbot pro, which is like a Roomba for your grill. Moley Robotics is developing a fully automated and intelligent robotic chef. Various robots sell pizza, cook it, deliver it, and can even print it in outer space.

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