A zero-footprint, intelligent robotic commercial kitchen assistant is now available from Miso Robotics. The Flippy Robot-on-a-Rail (ROAR) is pre-programmed to cook up to 19 various menu items, and can quickly learn new options, allowing operators to both appeal to new customers while retaining regulars with consistently cooked meals.
A Flippy ROAR unit costs around US$30,000 to buy outright, but with new financing options available through Miso Robotics’ TimePayments scheme, food service providers now have an affordable and powerful automation tool to help address indoor staffing and diner limitations, enhance health and safety standards, and improve margins as delivery and takeout increase in popularity. The company plans to evolve its robot-as-a-service model to feature even cheaper upfront costs and more manageable monthly software fees for operators.
How does Flippy work?
Having first unveiled a prototype enabling Flippy to glide across multiple workstations on a rail back in January, Miso’s final design mounts Flippy on an overhead rail, keeping it out of the path of busy kitchen staff to increase safety and throughput by interacting with a food hopper capable of dispensing the perfect amount of food for preparation before moving to the cooking station.
Meanwhile, new backend advancements to ChefUI, Miso Robotics’ proprietary software, assist kitchen workers with operational interactions and workflows through an easy-to-navigate dashboard view of the web-based application displayed on a 15.6in touchscreen monitor mounted on the ROAR system.
Through the dashboard, employees can see the foods in line to be prepared next. Capable of identifying current temperatures, predicting time remaining to meet consistency in taste perfection, and alerting staff of unsafe internal cooking temperatures, ROAR features powerful image processing and depth perception from Intel RealSense technology. Enabled by Intel RealSense Depth Camera D415, ChefUI can not only identify food and temperatures, but can also learn and reclassify new foods introduced to Flippy. Staff can also opt to change cooking times and alter portion sizes for foods coming out of the hopper to map back to customer customisation requests.
Impossible Burger – now possible
Along with enhanced camera, thermal sensing and UI capabilities, Flippy ROAR applies new advances in machine learning to quickly adapt to new menu items – with some 19 food items now within its frying abilities, as well as the addition of the Impossible Burger to Flippy ROAR’s grilling skillset. With a different patty make-up than the traditional burger, Impossible Burgers require special cooking care to lock in the flavour and taste that has escalated them as a new menu item favourite across quick-service restaurant chains and independent operators. Miso Robotics says a combination of advanced computer vision and deep learning software is able to account for the differences in texture and thickness of the Impossible Burger, in real-time, adjusting grilling technique to achieve perfection.
Finally, Flippy ROAR also features full NSF International (NSF) certification. An independent, global public health organization that certifies products to regulatory standards and protocols, NSF ensures health and cleanliness standards are incorporated into new product designs.
“Certification to NSF/ANSI food equipment standards mean Flippy ROAR meets rigorous requirements for material safety, hygienic design and performance,” explained Sara Risley, associate managing director of food equipment at NSF International. “The NSF mark signifies Miso Robotics’ commitment to health and safety – providing reassurance that the product can be easily cleaned to prevent foodborne illness and won’t leach harmful chemicals into food.”
Flippy ROAR provides operators with a certified product to decrease human contact in the cooking process – while recent partnerships with PopID and Pathspot will further reduce contamination and spread of viral infections to future kitchen environments, says Miso Robotics. With Flippy ROAR, production speeds increase and social distancing concerns in the kitchen are quickly addressed, it claims. Staff are able to shift to front-of-house roles where needs have increased for customer service-oriented activities like heavier and regular cleaning regimes, delivery and takeout order fulfilment, and outdoor ordering and hosting.
“We’re are incredibly excited to announce global commercial availability of Flippy ROAR,” said Mike Bell, CEO of Miso Robotics. “After we shared a sneak peek of the prototype in January, we’ve seen demand through the roof from operators, especially in light of COVID-19. Miso Robotics is confident that this demand will set us up for success and provide the automation the industry needs to not only recover but accelerate growth.”