Flippy is a burger-making robot and it has been fired from the job just after one day of service. The robot was put to work by Pasadena Caliburger, tasked with cooking 150 burgers an hour. The task proved to be too much for Flippy. At the time of hiring, the CEO of Cali Group the company that runs the burger chain was reported as saying, “The key to success in the restaurant industry is consistency. So anytime you go to a CaliBurger anywhere you know that the patty will be cooked exactly the same.”
It might not be a cute humanoid robot you are imagining. The robot, developed by Miso Robotics is actually a giant robot arm. The robot used a combination of thermal imaging, 3D, and camera vision to sense when the burgers needed to be flipped and when to be removed. “It detects the temperature of the patty, the size of the patty and the temperature of the grill surface,” explained David Zito, co-founder and chief executive officer
The sacking of the robot does not mean its end. The staff needs to be re-trained to work collaboratively with the burger-making robot. “Mostly it’s the timing,” Anthony Lomelino, the Chief Technology Officer for Cali Group told the Washington Post. “When you’re in the back, working with people, you talk to each other. With Flippy, you kind of need to work around his schedule. Choreographing the movements of what you do, when and how you do it.”
Statistics show that half of the restaurant staff may leave within a year, causing the food and beverage industry to spend around $3.4 billion in recruiting and training annually. Robots could be a solution to the staff running away. The robots won’t get injured or tired on the job and they definitely won’t run away.
We might see robots like Flippy working in restaurants more often in the future but we need to ask ourselves if it really is a step in the right direction. People say that it is inevitable and that it has to happen sooner or later. But, think about all the jobs that will be lost to these robots as a result.
You can check out Flippy in the video below: