A hamburger-making robot that can create 360 perfectly made burgers an hour promises to usher in a new era for fast-food restaurants.
Called Burgeon, the new robot promises to make fresher, more consistent burgers and could replace thousands of low-paid workers in burger bars across the world.
"The Burgeon can crank out a burger every 16 seconds. It grinds the meat, stamps out the patty, sends it along a conveyor-belt grill, toasts the buns, squirts on the condiments, slices and drops in pickles and tomatoes and lettuce, then pops the finished burger into a bag, all in under five minutes," reports The Mercury News, which has seen the robot in action.
It's been created by Momentum Machines, and the team behind the food-bot includes members trained in mechanical engineering, control systems, and physics at top-tier institutions in the US - Berkeley, Stanford, UCSB and the university of Utah.
The first attempt, dubbed alpha, promises to do everything human workers can do, only better. Examples given by the company include slicing toppings such as tomatoes and pickles immediately before it places the slice on to the burger.
The company says it is already working on the next model, which will offer custom meat grinds for every single customer, which includes, for example, creating a patty with 1/3 pork and 2/3 bison ground after you place your order, and will "use gourmet cooking techniques never before used in a fast-food restaurant, giving the patty the perfect char but keeping in all the juices".
If there was any doubt that the humble burger cook's job is doomed, Momentum Machines confirms: "Our alpha machine replaces all of the hamburger line cooks in a restaurant." Ouch.