Robo-cook: Android restaurant boots up in China

Aug 14, 2014
A robot carries food to customers in a restaurant in Kunshan, China on August 13, 2014

It's more teatime than Terminator—a restaurant in China is electrifying customers by using more than a dozen robots to cook and deliver food.

Mechanical staff greet customers, deliver dishes to tables and even stir-fry meat and vegetables at the eatery in Kunshan, which opened last week.

"My daughter asked me to invent a because she doesn't like doing housework," the restaurant's founder Song Yugang told AFP.

Two robots are stationed by the door to cheerfully greet customers, while four short but humanoid machines carry trays of food to the tables.

In the kitchen, two large blue robots with glowing red eyes specialise in frying, while another is dedicated to making dumplings.

Song told the local Modern Times newspaper that each robot costs around 40,000 yuan ($6,500)—roughly equal to the annual salary of a human employee.

"The robots can understand 40 everyday sentences. They can't get sick or ask for vacation. After charging up for two hours they can work for five hours," he added.

The restaurant, in the eastern province of Jiangsu, follows in the tracks of another robotic eatery which opened in the northeastern city of Harbin in 2012.

A robot cooks vegetables in a kitchen of a restaurant in Kunshan on August 13, 2014

Rising labour costs in China have encouraged manufacturers to turn to automation, and the country last year surpassed Japan to become the world's biggest consumer of .

The cooking robots—which have a fixed repertoire—exhibit limited artificial intelligence, and are loaded with ingredients by human staff, who also help to make some dishes.

But customers at the restaurant who tucked into fried tomatoes with egg, soup, and rice were thrilled with the experience.

"My children are really excited by the robots," said Yang Limei, a mother of three.

A robot carries food to customers in a restaurant in Kunshan on August 13, 2014

The round-headed waiter robots can only move along fixed paths, and politely ask customers to move out of their way whenever their routes are blocked.

"I've never seen a robot serving food before," said Yuan Yuan, nine. "I'm really surprised."

Explore further: Japan PM Abe wants to stage 2020 Robot Olympics

Related Stories

Robot waiters in China never lose patience

Dec 22, 2010

(AP) -- Service with a smile also comes with an electronic voice at the Dalu Robot restaurant, where the hotpot meals are not as famous yet as the staff who never lose their patience and never take tips.

Robots learn from each other on 'Wiki for robots'

Jan 13, 2014

Now it's not just people – robots are also connected by internet thanks to RoboEarth. Next week, after four years of research, scientists at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), Philips and four other ...

Recommended for you

Future US Navy: Robotic sub-hunters, deepsea pods

Mar 28, 2015

The robotic revolution that transformed warfare in the skies will soon extend to the deep sea, with underwater spy "satellites," drone-launching pods on the ocean floor and unmanned ships hunting submarines.

Festo has BionicANTs communicating by the rules for tasks

Mar 27, 2015

Germany-based automation company Festo, focused on technologies for tasks, turns to nature for inspiration, trying to take the cues from how nature performs tasks so efficiently. "Whether it's energy efficiency, ...

Virtual robotization for human limbs

Mar 26, 2015

Recent advances in computer gaming technology allow for an increasingly immersive gaming experience. Gesture input devices, for example, synchronise a player's actions with the character on the screen. Entertainment ...

Robots on reins could be the 'eyes' of firefighters

Mar 25, 2015

Researchers at King's College London have developed revolutionary reins that enable robots to act like guide dogs, which could enable that firefighters moving through smoke-filled buildings could save vital ...

Robot revolution will change world of work

Mar 24, 2015

Robots will fundamentally change the shape of the workforce in the next decade but many industries will still need a human touch, a QUT Future of Work Conference has heard.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

11791
Aug 18, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Toiea
not rated yet Aug 18, 2014
Of course not - you can still work as a servant clone fed with recycled biojuice.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.