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Meet Flippy The Robot

Francisco Saravia

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Good news if you’re worried about a robot taking your job: it turns out even mechanical laborers need a break.

Only a single shift into its career at the CaliBurger restaurant in Pasadena, California, this week, Flippy the robot burger-flipper is going on hiatus. The bot, created by startup Miso Robotics, made its debut earlier this week assisting in CaliBurger’s kitchen by flipping patties on the grill. According to reports, the robot did its job well but was such a hit with customers that Miso Robotics is giving Flippy time off over the weekend for some upgrades. What amazes me is how Flippy is able to see through its artificial intelligence called google OpenCV, the software they used for artificial vision.

According to Miso spokeswoman Stephanie Cirigliano, the company needs to perform tests on the robot “to make sure the location can fulfill a large number of orders.”  Flippy will be back on burger duty next week, but it’ll only be for a limited time each day (between 11AM and 2PM to help cover the lunchtime shift). Yes robots can take part time jobs as well!

Flippy is more of an automaton than a human replacement. It’s essentially an industrial robot arm with a spatula attached that uses machine vision to locate burgers on the grill, time how long they’ve been cooking, and flip them when needed. Human workers still have to do everything else — including placing cheese on the burger, assembling the food, and taking a customer’s order. Flippy is primarily earning its keep as a visitor attraction, just like those Chinese restaurants that use robot waiters.

Despite these gimmicks, it seems robots are slowly finding their place in new occupations. CaliBurger plans to install Flippy in 50 locations around the US, and Miso Robotics is only one of a number of startups using the latest tech to automate the food industry. Startup Momentum Machines has raised $18 million to take its burger robot into fast-food joints, and other companies are building machines that make pizzas and salads.

The fact that even a basic bot like Flippy needs a lot of tinkering to adapt to life in the kitchen shows that integrating robots into human jobs is tougher than it looks. But, it’s still happening — one burger at a time.

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I am a driven, curious, and innovative bilingual technologist and serial entrepreneur. Passionate about technology and how the web, social media, computer and mobile devices work together. Beta tester for Google Maps, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Google, Facebook, Instagram and Android System Webview which is driving progressive web apps & android instant apps. Co-Founder of FitTube, SpringfieldDaily & SpringfieldAuction + many more!

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LIVE | Springfield City Council committee of the whole Dec. 11th

Staff Contributor

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Follow along live with the Springfield City Council’s committee of the whole meeting for December 11th.

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LIVE | Springfield City Council Meeting December 4th

Staff Contributor

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Follow along live with the Springfield City Council meeting for December 4th. There is a presentation by EmberClear about a proposed gas-fired plant.

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U.S.

Bustos’ American-made flag bill passes in the House

Thomas Clatterbuck

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In 2015, the Federal government spent $4.4 million on foreign-made American flags. Almost all of these flags, which were used by the Department of Defense, came from China. Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos was appalled when she learned this from a veteran. Under current law, flags only need to be made of 50 percent American-made materials.

Bustos’ bill would require American flags purchased with taxpayer dollars be wholly produced in the United States. Yesterday, that bill passed the House. Bustos has been working on this issue for years; and this is not the first time her measure has made it out of the house.

HR 3121 will now go to the Senate to be voted on there.

You can watch Bustos’ speech in the player. You can read the bill here.

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