LOS ANGELES – A robot named Flippy is now in the kitchen at a fast food restaurant called CaliBurger in Pasadena, California.
"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," said John Miller, CEO of Cali Group, the company that runs the chain.
The robot was developed by a subsidiary called Miso Robotics.
So how does it work? Before Flippy can get started, it needs a little human help. A co-worker puts raw patties on the grill.
"The kitchen of the future will always have people in it, but we see that kitchen as having people and robots," said David Zito, co-founder and chief executive officer of Miso Robotics.
Flippy uses thermal imaging, 3D, and camera vision to sense when to flip – and when to remove.
"It detects the temperature of the patty, the size of the patty and the temperature of the grill surface," explained Zito.
The device also learns through artificial intelligence - basically, the more burgers that Flippy flips, the smarter it gets. Right now, cheese and toppings are added by a co-worker.
In addition to consistency and safety, CaliBurger says the robot can cut down on costs.
"It's not a fun job - it’s hot, it’s greasy, it’s dirty," said Miller about the grill cook position.
Less turnover means less time training new grill cooks.
"This technology is not about replacing jobs, we see Flippy as that third hand," said Zito.
Miso Robotics says Flippy costs at least $60,000. CaliBurger is using Flippy in its Pasadena store starting Monday, with plans to expand the use of it at other locations soon.
See Flippy cook a burger from start to finish: