Fast food is fast, but is it fast enough? Not according to Alexandros Vardakostas, founder of robotics firm Momentum Machines, whose new “Burgeon” can churn out a burger every 16 seconds.
The 27-year-old physics graduate from UC Santa Barbara believes his robotic burger flipper could replace real life line chefs and get down to the even more time efficient finished burger every 10 seconds. Now that’s fast.
The machine makes burgers from soup to nuts, grinding the meat itself, pounding out the meat patties, grilling it, toasting the buns, slicing the tomatoes, lettuce and pickles and finally, bagging the burger for hungry customers to pick up and go. The entire process happens in less than five minutes, with fresh burgers popping off the line every 16 seconds, 360 burgers an hour.
"Our alpha machine replaces all of the hamburger line cooks in a restaurant. It does everything employees can do except better," is the bold claim on Momentum’s website, in case anyone was worried that a machine made burger just couldn’t cut it.
The next version, Momentum promises, will improve on burger making even further. Want custom meat grinds? A patty with 1/3 pork and 2/3 bison ground after you place your order? No problem. Have it your way.
The Burgeon will also apparently use “gourmet cooking techniques never before used in a fast food restaurant” to give the patty the perfect char while retaining all its juices.
For now, though, your local student’s job seems relatively safe; the prototype device is still apparently sitting in a warehouse in San Francisco's SOMA neighborhood while the founders raise more funding and improve on their menus.
One question left lingering, however. Does it make good fries? Related Stories:
I can see this spilling over to the other employees of the restaurant/fast food chains all replaced with robots.
If a robot can put the ingredients together and cook your food then it's obvious that they could take over other duties of restaurant employees.
So the next question is what do we do about all the high school kids and others looking for part time summer jobs?
While you might not caught a cold from the grillman, I'd worry about the fuzzy stuff growing inside the machine if it can't be cleaned completely. Spatulas and bare metal clean up better than conveyor belts, gears, and chains.
I agree with both of you... it seems like the healthier, less disease ridden way of making burgers. And the recipe can be tweaked and perfected which would make it consistently good every time. Humans in the fast food business are the weak (and expensive) link. And the upside is, more jobs for engineering students who can perform the maintenance on them :)
I agree Bert,
With just a little extra effort, you could put fresh produce and meat in one end of the machine and a fully cooked hamburger could come out of the slot still hot.
This approach could improve service and reduce the spread of various malodies introduced to the food by the staff.
Just a thought.
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