Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Visions of burgers

An average fast-food restaurant spends $135,000 every year in costs to employ individuals to produce hamburgers. But all that could soon become a thing of the past if the engineers at Momentum Machines (San Francisco, CA, USA) have anything to do with it.

For the engineers there are working on developing a robotic system that can do everything those employees can presently do, except better. Indeed, they are claiming that with their new robotic system in place, the labor savings will enable future restaurants to offer "gourmet quality" burgers at fast-food prices.

The robotic system will be able to offer custom meat grinds for every single customer. So if you want a patty with one third pork and two thirds bison ground after you place your order, that won't be a problem. Aside from mixing up and cooking the meat, the system can also slice toppings like tomatoes and pickles immediately before it places the slices onto a burger, providing customers with the freshest burger possible.

The result of all of this, at least according to the company, is that the consumer will be presented with a product that is more consistent and more sanitary. And since the system will be able to produce 360 hamburgers per hour, there will be more than enough to go around!

While it all might sound a bit far fetched, the team at Momentum Machines has an impressive background. They were trained in mechanical engineering, control systems, and physics at institutions such as Berkeley, Stanford, UCSB and Utah University. And their work experience includes firms such as iRobot, NASA, Sandia National Labs, Semiconductor Technology Associates and Tesla.

They are being advised in their endeavors by Don Fox, the CEO of Firehouse Subs and 2011 National Restaurant News Operator of the year, and The Culinary Edge, a highly esteemed restaurant consulting group. Investment capital is being provided by Lemnos Labs.

Now the results of such a system will clearly have a great impact on the folks who presently work in fast-food chains. So the noble minded folks at Momentum Machines aim to help out those who may need to "transition" to a new job as a result of their technology by offering discounted technical training to any former line cook of a restaurant that deploys the new system.

If you have a degree or two, on the other hand, you might even consider working for the company itself. Currently, it is looking to hire a mechatronics engineer as well as a machine vision specialist to further the development of the system. So if you know anything about vision systems design and love a good hamburger, you know where to go.

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