Momentum Machines, a startup out of Lemnos Labs, plans to automate the fast food industry, starting with the perfect burger
Science fiction has always positioned the idea that one day our human jobs would be replaced by machines. For those working in burger assembly lines, that day might be sooner than you think.
Introducing a machine that makes burgers. Literally, it’s a burger making machine, in prototype, that takes unprepared ingredients like whole tomatoes, onions, uncooked patties, untoasted buns, and spits out a completely assembled burger:
Momentum Machines, the San Francisco-based robotics company responsible for the concept, notes that they are aiming to have a functional demo model by June 1st, 2012.
About a month ago, the company got a quick nod by the tech community and a shaky video by StartupGrind that caught the group during a work day. Jump to 2:38 for the interesting stuff, see company president Alex Vardakostas speak, joke about their CAD model and give a brief explanation about the power of their product.
How does it work?
The machine takes unprepared inputs (including whole tomatoes, onions, pickles, uncooked patties, untoasted buns, etc.) and then, as each order comes in, the device prepares the ingredients (slices tomatoes, char-broils patties, etc.) and assembles the entire burger.
Customization occurs through a simple user interface, allowing the button-pusher to opt out of certain ingredients and add extras of stuff they like. When it’s done doing the assembling, it even puts the burger into a bag, if that’s what your company needs it to do.
Vardakostas even commented on the possible additions of proteins outside of beef patties. He said they plan on integrating chicken sandwiches and fish sandwiches into the technology, and that their current setup isn’t too far off from handling such requests.
“The machine is already capable of handling different sizes of buns, tomatoes, et cetera” explained Vardakostas when asked about the limitations of his machine. “It’s also really customizable in that the restaurant owner can tell us the proportion sizes desired of each ingredient and we can very easily modify the machine to suit their demand.”
Daily upkeep for potential restaurant users involves reloading the machine with ingredients “every once in a long while.”
The anticipated output is currently around 360 hamburgers per hour.
The aim of the robot, which remains without a name currently, is to produce food more consistently, with higher quality and at a lower cost.
Ultimately, a sterile machine opens the opportunity for a much more sanitary work environment. For those that think burger making robots sound superfluous, let the ramifications sink in.
Vardakostas notes that their potential customers include “hamburger restaurants of all kinds, food trucks, airports, train stations and other high traffic locations.”
Most exciting, as Alex put it, is all the new restaurant concepts that could be unleashed with their technology as the backend.
The utility for a restaurant owner is evident, less people on the line with more output. If Momentum Machines does their due diligence, it may even be beneficial to make available an adaptable API — opening the floodgates to unique visual ordering experiences.