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Brainiac

The rise and fall of the burger-flipping robot

miso robotics

What is it? Flippy, the burger-flipping robot

Innovator: Miso Robotics

What were they thinking? If you’re managing a fast food joint, overseeing the kitchen staff can be a real drag — what with their paychecks, their illnesses, and their feelings. But Miso Robotics is offering an alternative: Flippy the burger-flipping robot, which the company has dubbed “the world’s first autonomous robotic kitchen assistant.” It cleans the grill! It cooks the patties! And using thermal vision technology, Flippy alerts its sack-of-bones human co-workers when the burgers are ready to be dressed!

Did it work? Flippy recently debuted, to great fanfare, at a CaliBurger in Pasadena, Calif. But like many a fast-food worker, he was quickly fired — or at least suspended. Not because of any mechanical error, USA Today reports, but because his human co-workers couldn’t move fast enough to pile on the fixings when the burgers were done. Looks like CaliBurger might actually have to hire more people to keep up with Flippy, suggesting automation won’t be quite the blow to human employment we were all hoping for.

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