Burger-Flipping Robot was fired because humans couldn’t keep up with it

Burger-flipping robot Flippy works at the grill. Image credit: Miso Robotics

On March 5, Miso Robotics, the leading robotics and artificial intelligence solutions company, announced the public debut of ‘Flippy,’ touted as the world’s first autonomous robotic kitchen assistant. Flippy began working alongside kitchen staff at CaliBurger’s Pasadena, California location during lunchtime by flipping burger patties and removing them from the grill when cooked to order.

Been on the job for just two days, Flippy is already on a break. However, it wasn’t Flippy’s fault. Your co-workers can make or break you, and the robot learned this the hard way. Apparently, the robot’s human colleagues couldn’t keep up with it. They weren’t able to assemble the burgers as quickly as Flippy could grill the patties, USA Today reported.

Miso Robotics developed Miso AI – a cloud-connected learning platform that powers industrial robotic arms – with the aim to augment commercial kitchen operations with advanced technology.

The company’s website describes Miso AI as follows:

Miso AI combines 3D, thermal and regular vision to automatically detect when raw burger patties are placed on the grill and monitors each one in real-time throughout the cooking process. As the patties cook, Miso AI displays the cooking time on a screen that also alerts kitchen staff when to place cheese on top or when to dress a burger. It also enables Flippy to switch from using a spatula for raw meat and one for cooked meat. In addition, Flippy has the ability to clean spatulas while cooking and to wipe the surface of the grill with a scraper.

Flippy wasn’t intended to replace people but rather to serve as “extra hands” at the grill.

CaliBurger prepared for Flippy’s debut with a special cooking area designated as the robot’s kitchen domain, including a sign that read “Flippy’s Corner.” But Flippy’s introduction did not go as smoothly as planned, as there were not enough people working behind the counter to dress the finished burgers at the pace Flippy could make them, a CaliBurger representative told USA Today.

Miso Robotics announced in 2017 that autonomous burger-makers like Flippy would be installed in more than 50 CaliBurger locations around the world by the end of 2019. But for now, the one location willing to take a chance on a robot fry cook has temporarily put it on a break.