Robots Flip Pancakes, Serve Sushi
Posted on August 17, 2009
Humanoid robots taking care of the drudgery of chores have been a dream of overworked humans since the dawn of this technological age. Soon, Japanese restaurants may have robots to take care of some of their time-consuming repetitive tasks.
Prototypes of pancake-flipping robots that, vegetable-chopping androids, and sushi-serving machines were all showcased at the International Food Machinery and Technology Expo in Tokyo last week.
Tomio Sugiura, president of the makers of a vegetable-chopping prototype Sugiura Kikai Sekkei, voiced hopes that the robots would one day be as common as vacuum cleaners.
“Nowadays, almost every family has a car. In the near future, every family would be having a humanoid robot that can help out with various chores at home,” Suigiura said.
Japan’s robot industry, which makes almost half of the world’s 800,000 industrial robots, is a multi-billion dollar industry. Manufacturers want to integrate the abilities of these machines into the daily life and work of Japanese citizens.
“We all know that robots can be very useful. We want to take that utility out of the factory so that they can be used elsewhere,” said Narito Hosomi, president of the company that made the pancake-flipping robot, Toyo Riki.
The robot expertly makes the traditional Japanese meat, vegetable, and seafood pancakes known as Okonomiyaki, and can even ask the customer what condiments they want.
Some hope that robots can take the place of menial or janitorial jobs. “If a human does this job, it can be stressful. And if so, they can leave the work to the robot,” said Masanori Hirano of the robot lab that created the serving android, Squse.
Also at the Expo were robots cooking ramen, making drinks, and serving humans with utensils. While robots won’t be mopping your floors, pouring your whiskey, or flipping your burgers tomorrow or even next year, machines are definitely making an inroads on traditionally human tasks.
As technology continues to improve our lives, the Japanese especially can expect to see more battery-run workers cooking their veggies and serving them sushi.
Watch the robots in action below.