This Robot Barista Will Make You Cheap Coffee In SF

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By Cooking Panda

We have robots delivering pizzas and carrying take-out orders down the city sidewalks. What’s next, robot’s serving us our coffee? Why, yes! That is what’s next.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Cafe X of San Francisco has broken the ice for anyone who wanted to go the robot-barista route. The cafe is located in San Francisco’s Metreon Mall, and customers can simply press buttons to choose their drink and bean and the robot will get to work.

The robot retrieves your cup, adds any necessary syrup, then let’s the coffee machine do the rest. The best part is that your coffee drink is ready within 22 to 55 seconds. Less than a minute! The robot is self-sufficient, in that it cleans itself and adjusts recipes on its own for temperature and humidity.

Cafe X isn’t even really a cafe. It’s a kiosk outside of the mall, according to Wired. You order your coffee via iPad, and then you get to watch the robot behind the glass window move quickly and efficiently to deliver your morning joe. You can choose from three kinds of beans and the amount of syrup you’d like to have. The robot spins around, and begins making a few different drinks at once. It can complete each order in 20 seconds! That makes up for the time you spend waiting in long Starbucks lines on your way to work in the mornings. You really can’t beat this level of efficiency.

This technology already existed in Hong Kong, and has been successful there for a while now, but this is the first Cafe X kiosk to hit the U.S. market. What really delayed the initial set-up was that the health department didn’t know how to classify the kiosk. Is it a coffee vending machine, or a cafe? What does this mean for health codes?

Eventually, the health department decided that the kiosk would be classified as a food truck, as long as the owners installed a sink. Let’s hope this fun new cafe makes its way to other states soon!

Sources: Wall Street Journal via Grubstreet, Wired / Photo Credit: Grubstreet

Tags: Cafe X, coffee, Robot Barista, robots, Robots Serving Coffee
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Pizza-Making Robots Are Here, And They Want To Deliver Your Pie To You

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By Cooking Panda

While I’ve never personally considered the current pizza-delivery model to be particularly outdated — any system that specializes in ensuring that I end up with a pizza in my hands gets an A-OK from me — there are plenty of people who say the pizza business is in need of an upgrade.

One former video game executive, for example, has come forth with his mission to revolutionize the pizza model — with robots, naturally.

Alex Garden, a Silicon Valley insider and founder of Zume Pizza, gave Bloomberg an inside look at his pizza manufacturing plant, which is staffed by a team of enormous, super-efficient robots that expertly prep the pies. Later, the pizzas get delivered by a van retrofitted with ovens that bake the food en route to customers.

If you are somebody who believes that food just doesn’t taste as good without that sweet ol’-fashioned dose of authentic human love, Garden still wants to cater to you; his robots have been assigned cute humanoid names (like Bruno and Marta) and are even programmed to spread sauce “perfectly but not too perfectly, so it looks just like an artisan product.”

First, a little robotic nub swishes the sauce atop a pizza crust; next, the pie travels down a conveyor belt to be decorated (by humans!); then, Bruno and his giant robotic arm transfers the pizzas to be pre-baked in an 850-degree Fahrenheit oven.

Once an order is placed, the van-oven hybrid (each van comes equipped with 56 remotely controlled ovens) finishes cooking the pizzas during the delivery process. Upon arrival, machines then eject the pies from the oven and slice them.

“It would be like Domino’s without the labor component,” Garden says. “You can start to see how incredibly profitable that can be.”

“We want to be the Amazon of food,” Garden adds.

According to Bloomberg, several pizza companies have already begun to experiment with turning the pizza business into a fully automated process; Consumerist reports that Dominos, for example, is currently testing an autonomous delivery vehicle, while Pizza Hut previously collaborated with SoftBank and MasterCard to develop a robotic cashier.

Sources: Bloomberg, Consumerist / Photo credit: Amicos Pizza TX

Tags: Pizza, pizza delivery, robots, silicon valley, zume pizza
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Robots Are In Charge Of This Shanghai KFC (Photos)

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By Cooking Panda

The future is here! In Shanghai, China, a KFC restaurant is completely staffed by robots. 

This innovative establishment is located at Shanghai’s National Exhibition and Convention Center.

Isn’t that cute? And it looks so content with itself. All in a hard day’s work.

Called “Original+” to refer to the Original Recipe chicken combined with “innovative technologies,” this store features an artificial intelligence system called “Dumi.”

Using voice recognition, the robots are able to attend to customers throughout the restaurant. According to The Nan Fang, this system is “learning” from its interactions with customers in order to handle customers making substitutions or changing their minds when they order.

Technological advances are present throughout the restaurant. In addition to the personalized attention given by the robots, customers can also pay for their food using mobile payment services like Alipay, Tenpay, and Baidu Wallet. A wireless charging station, which also functions as a music streaming station, is also available for patrons.

The robots can’t understand English or Shanghainese, the local dialect, and struggle to distinguish between particular dialects and accents. Maybe Suri could help Dumi with that linguistic kink. Or perhaps Rosie the Robot from The Jetsons could lend a hand.

Dumi is the result of 10 years of research and development by Baidu, and will reportedly appear in other real-world environments. Will more restaurants welcome the technology? Or maybe somewhere like the DMV or post office? Only time will tell.

Source: The Nan Fang / Photo credits: Q Daily, My Fancy Life

Tags: artificial intelligence, Dumi, KFC, robots, Shanghai
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