Meet Flippy, the robot that is literally coming to steal your burger-flipping job. In fact, he’s already done so at CaliBurger in Pasadena, California. The robot was designed and developed by the burger restaurant’s owners, who also run a robotics company called Miso Robotics.
Flippy fits right in to a fast-food kitchen without requiring reconfiguration, according to its inventors. Using sensors and cameras, it locates, flips and measures the temperature and doneness of burger patties until they’re ready, at which point it alerts its human counterparts that it’s time to build the burger manually (so there’s a job saved, at least).
In a statement released by Miso Robotics CEO David Zito, it was also explained that Flippy is no dummy. In fact, he learns from his work to improve over time. He also can’t quit, of course.
“Much like self-driving vehicles, our system continuously learns from its experiences to improve over time,” he said.
Flippy is running at just one restaurant so far, as part of a test period. If things go according to plan, CaliBurger will roll hum out to more than 50 locations over the next couple years. As for what will happen to those jobs, CaliBurger just says those people will be reassigned to the front of the restaurant or simply as Flippy assistants.
But fear not: Zito is bullish on the future of humans in the food and hospitality industry. “Restaurants are gathering places where we go to interact with each other,” he told TechCrunch. “Humans will always play a very critical role in the hospitality side of the business given the social aspects of food. We just don’t know what the new roles will be yet in the industry.“