Rethinking Robots

artifiical intelligence robot

By Manolo Almagro, Managing Partner at Q Division – A Transformative Tech Consultancy

With MWC19 Barcelona coming up, we’re fast at work planning for this year’s topic tours. As we begin our exhibitor curation process, we look to the latest in tech trends in the areas of AI, AR/VR, IoT, 5G, Autonomous vehicles, nanotechnology and robotics.

One of the biggest trends in the robotics industry we’ve been tracking is in the disruption of the food + restaurant industry, specifically, food serving robots have been growing in popularity.

Over the past 14 months – a series of next generation robots have been pressed into public service as robot baristas, gourmet robo-chefs and even robot bakers.

In Austin, Texas a specialty coffee company, Briggo launched a coffee robot that combines specialty direct trade ingredients, mobile technology, cloud computing and AI powered robotics that allows customers to create customized, personal coffee drinks through a mobile app.

A start-up in San Francisco, California opened a robot restaurant called Creator where for $6 USD customers can get a made-to-order burger built by a robotic chef. This “burgerbot” is the culmination of 350 Sensors, 50 actuators and 20 computers to ensure every ingredient is dispensed accurately down to the millimeter and gram.

At CES 2019, the Wilkinson Baking Company unveiled stand-alone bread making robot or that can make up to 10 loaves of fresh bread per hour, from raw ingredients. The “breadbot” mixes, forms, proofs, bakes and racks the bread in a separate display case for waiting customers to grab hot, freshly baked bread.

The concept of using a robot to prepare food or drinks isn’t new – first generation automatons were built on a platform very similar to the robots found on the manufacturing factory floor. A typical robot would consist of a set of fully articulated mechanical arms and grippers that were programmed to replicate the movements that a human chef preparing a meal or human bartender would take.

A new way of thinking is transforming the food service robot, rather than mimicking a human chef’s hand and arm motions, next gen robots are being engineered to take on a non-traditional approach. Mechanical arms and grippers are being replaced with conveyer belts that move the products along the process. Food forming utensils are redesigned to suit the newer, more efficient methods such as in-line supply tubes of raw materials that measure, cut, grind, grate or dispense fresh components negating the need to use preprocessed shelf stable materials.

This next generation of robots are designed around the core principal of automating the food preparation process at an increased speed and at much higher yield and quality than any human or even first generation robot could accomplish. In addition to better efficiency, the computer controlled process ensures a consistently higher quality of product.

Robotics is one of many trends we’ll cover in the upcoming “An Insider’s view of Mobile World Congress 2019” Topic tours.

Are you interested in Topic Tours at MWC19? We have a variety of tours that would interest any attendee including Robotics as mentioned above. Learn more here.

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