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article imageFirst robot made burger launches in Bay Area

By Tim Sandle     Jul 1, 2018 in Business
San Fransisco - Much of the burger process relies on a combination of human and machine. This is about to get an automation uplift at one restaurant in the Bay Area of San Francisco. The advantage is lower costs and a faster service.
Starting in June 27, as developed by Creator, a machine will “grind your beef for you to order, cook it, slice the buns, and assemble toppings—right before your eyes and in five minutes”, as Bloomberg reports.
Creator is a culinary robotics company. The company promises that its burgers will not only be indistinguishable from those flipped and cooked by a human, they will probably be superior, not least because of the ability of the robot to personalize the burger:
“Every burger is created with freshly ground beef that’s aligned perfectly to your bite — a new kind of tenderness. We grind, slice, grate, toast, season, grill and customize a burger that’s fast, fresh, delicious and unforgettable.”
Creator is the name of the company and the name of the robot, or rather what is a series of computers and sensors. These work together to shuffle each burger through shoots and traps, after which the burger emerges on the other end, moving down a conveyor belt. It appears fully-formed, cooked to order, and ready for the customer.
In all there are 20 computers, 350 sensors and 50 actuator mechanisms involved with the 14-foot-long contraption. The total process, which includes toasting brioche buns and adding the right amount of seasoning, takes around five minutes. In the longer term the aim is to refine the machine so it can produce 400 burgers per hour.
Here is the machine in action:
Quoted by Newsweek, company founder Alex Vardakostas said: “When I started this process eight years ago, there wasn’t the inevitability that this would happen with food. Now not only is it inevitable, but it also produces a much higher quality product.”
The robot took nine years to develop. In an interview with Wired Vardakostas explains he had no interest in using a machine to help humans with the task of preparing fast food or to make people more efficient at their jobs; his objective was to obviate the need for people entirely. This is a case of ‘robots taking jobs’, but Vardakostas sees this as an inevitable step in technological development and part of the driver to make businesses more efficient.
With the opening of the first Creator burger restaurant, the typical price will be $6 for a standard burger. The Creator storefront is located in San Francisco’s South of Market neighbourhood.
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