Flippy, the robotic kitchen arm from Miso Robotics, was fired after just one day on the job. Flippy was employed by CaliBurger to grill and flip meat in the kitchen of its Pasadena location but failed to move at the fast pace of the human CaliBurger employees.
Flippy was engineered as a robotic arm that used thermal and 3-D imaging and camera vision to sense when to flip and remove burgers from the grill. The arm was intended to make CaliBurger’s kitchen more efficient and to ensure patty quality and symmetry. However, according to USA Today, the robot could not keep up with demand.
“Mostly it’s the timing,” Anthony Lomelino, the chief technology officer for Cali Group, revealed to the outlet. “When you’re in the back, working with people, you talk to each other. With Flippy, you kind of need to work around his schedule. Choreographing the movements of what you do, when and how you do it.”
For now, multiple outlets report that the robotic arm is still on display at CaliBurger, with a sign saying Flippy will return, eventually. “The kitchen of the future will always have people in it, but we see that kitchen as having people and robots,” David Zito, co-founder and chief executive of Miso Robotics, told KTLA . “This technology is not about replacing jobs. We see Flippy as that third hand.”
The Daily Meal has reached out to Miso Robotics on the matter.
According to The Washington Post, Flippy was customized for CaliBurger, and will be exclusive to the chain for six months (should Flippy be re-hired). After the six months, the robotic arm will be available to other fast-food vendors for $60,000.
While it’s probably too early to start thinking about installing a Flippy in your kitchen, we have a whole guide to 25 other kitchen gadgets you probably don’t need but might want anyway.