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Video: This Isn't Your Mother's Pasta

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Beth Stackpole
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Welcome kitchen helper
Beth Stackpole   9/19/2012 7:06:20 AM
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A little bit of overkill on the size of the robot compared to the actual task it is assigned to do (IMHO), but very fun and cool. Would love to borrow one of these for my kitchen--slicing veggies, preparing lunches. The list is endless!

rpl3000
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Re: Welcome kitchen helper
rpl3000   9/19/2012 8:16:38 AM
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 That is fantastic! I love unnecessarily humanoid robots. It reminds me of the show Futurama (Bender).

naperlou
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Re: Welcome kitchen helper
naperlou   9/19/2012 8:29:50 AM
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Beth, that is the next step!  A robot that does all the repetitive slicing tasks. 

I wonder about a place like China where there are lots of people.  On the other hand, it is a good sign that their economy is moving up in the value chain.  I expect that the robot shape and the lights, etc. are also good for the visual effect.  After all, it is being used in a consumer environment.  If it were in the back room, you might want to dispense with the aesthetics.

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Welcome kitchen helper
Beth Stackpole   9/19/2012 1:53:31 PM
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Maybe they can line up these robots to man the cooking stations at those Japanese steak houses where they make it a show to cut up meats and veggies and cook them on open fires. I bet the robot theme would be quite an attraction.

gsmith120
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Re: Welcome kitchen helper
gsmith120   9/19/2012 11:19:22 AM
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I agree Beth a bit overkill but interesting invention. 

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Welcome kitchen helper
Rob Spiegel   9/19/2012 2:54:38 PM
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This is cool, and the video is great. Yet I agree with Beth. The size is overkill. I would imagine an automated noodle slicer does not need to take a human form any more than an automotive welding robot needs to look human.

Cadman-LT
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Re: Welcome kitchen helper
Cadman-LT   9/19/2012 4:48:49 PM
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I agree. What is the point in making it look human? especially if it's hidden back in the kitchen anyway.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Welcome kitchen helper
Rob Spiegel   9/20/2012 12:59:18 PM
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In part of the robotics world, human-like configuration seems to hold some value. Not sure why. One thing I like about robots that are designed entirely for function is the elegance of their shapes and movements. Human-form robots have always seemed a bit inefficient and creepy to me.

Charles Murray
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Re: Welcome kitchen helper
Charles Murray   9/25/2012 10:25:47 PM
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I agree, Rob. This robot is at least five times bigger than it needs to be, which leads me to believe the appeal of this robot isn't its pure functionality.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Welcome kitchen helper
Rob Spiegel   9/26/2012 11:39:30 AM
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That's right, Chuck. I find it so interesting when robots are designed to resemble humans. It seems there are very few functions that are enhanced by human resemblance. As an example, some form of wheel makes more sense for mobility than two legs in almost any environment.

Cadman-LT
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Re: Welcome kitchen helper
Cadman-LT   10/15/2012 6:16:22 PM
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I just hope they stop at pasta. I for one do not want a robot cooking my dinner or as a waiter.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Welcome kitchen helper
Rob Spiegel   10/15/2012 11:02:05 PM
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The robots are appearing everywhere, Cadman-LT. There's a posting on our home page now that features a robot that makes drinks.

Cadman-LT
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Re: Welcome kitchen helper
Cadman-LT   10/18/2012 10:43:35 PM
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I know, it is inevitable. Some are good ideas, some are not. If you are referring to the inebriator that isn't really a robot, but a machine.

Cadman-LT
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Re: Welcome kitchen helper
Cadman-LT   10/18/2012 10:57:26 PM
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Now if they turn that into a human looking machine that talks, then I guess it would be a bartending robot. I don't like the sound of that at all.

Cadman-LT
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Re: Welcome kitchen helper
Cadman-LT   10/18/2012 11:19:15 PM
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I guess I am just not ready for robots in restaurants or bars where human interaction is a big part of the experience.

TommyH
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Re: Welcome kitchen helper
TommyH   11/16/2012 10:58:53 AM
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I saw an article last year that predicted that McDonalds will have unattended robotic resteraunts within a decade.  Eventually robots and computers, which are already impacting employment, will be doing a lot more jobs than they do now.  Those jobs will be gone forever.  What will we do when our workforce becomes so large relative to the jobs available, that there is constant double digit unemployment?

Cadman-LT
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Re: Welcome kitchen helper
Cadman-LT   12/10/2012 1:43:52 AM
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Seeing as how they can already mow your lawn and vaccuum the carpet I assume kids will grow up without any work ethic at all eventually.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Welcome kitchen helper
Rob Spiegel   10/24/2012 12:27:00 AM
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Cadman-LT, how do you differentiate between a robot and a machine?

Cadman-LT
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Re: Welcome kitchen helper
Cadman-LT   11/5/2012 1:15:51 PM
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I guess robots are made to look human and a machine is a machine. I know that isn't correct, because we have welding robots and such that don't look human. That's my answer though.

Cadman-LT
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Re: Welcome kitchen helper
Cadman-LT   11/5/2012 1:20:24 PM
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So basically, when I think robot, I think of a human-looking machine. I don't think about robotic welders and whatever, I just picture a human-looking machine. There are a lot of machines that are not called robots, but when you make a machine look human, then they call it a robot. See what I mean?

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Welcome kitchen helper
Rob Spiegel   11/5/2012 4:00:55 PM
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Hi Cadman-LT. I think the word robot is a widely used term that encompasses a wide range of machines. I haven't seen a clear definition between robot and machine.

Cadman-LT
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Re: Welcome kitchen helper
Cadman-LT   11/14/2012 12:13:49 PM
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I totally agree. You can have a robotic welder, it's called a robot. But I prefer to call them machines. There is no real definition I guess.

Cadman-LT
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Re: Welcome kitchen helper
Cadman-LT   11/14/2012 12:17:47 PM
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For some reason I attach robot to human-like. A machine is a machine. A welder is a welder. They call them robots, but I don't. They are machines.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Welcome kitchen helper
Rob Spiegel   11/14/2012 9:30:51 PM
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Good point, Cadman-LT. I've always thought robots were machines that exhibit human qualities. Welders and other factory machines are often called robots partly (I think) because their movements replicate human tasks.

TJ McDermott
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The draw to this is cultural
TJ McDermott   9/20/2012 12:08:20 AM
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I'm perplexed at the draw to this.  I would guess it is cultural.  The robot uses motion control technology, but it replaced only one person to save them the repetitive injury.  The robot looks like it makes noodles no faster than a human could.

Why not a more traditional noodle press and slitter?  Same regimented noodles, but they can be made much faster.

The motion of the dough pan was impressive (small, precise indexes), and one presumes that it also indexes in a vertical direction as the dough block gets pared down.  But is duplicating a human's motion exactly the best approach?

Beth Stackpole
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Re: The draw to this is cultural
Beth Stackpole   9/20/2012 7:33:17 AM
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It's funny. Right after I read this post, I saw a clip on the local Boston news stations last night about a similar looking robot called Baxter from Rethink Robotics that reminded me of this guy. The company is promising its "common sense" robot will revamp U.S. manufacturing. Big claims, I know, but it seems promising. But just like the robot that's the focus of this post, I wonder if we run the risk of getting so robot-crazy that we overbake what this technology is really well suited to do and end up with more complex manufacturing processes as opposed to really streamlined ones for optimal productivity.

warren@fourward.com
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Re: The draw to this is cultural
warren@fourward.com   9/20/2012 4:24:32 PM
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Maybe if we quit calling them robots they would fit in better.  Just call it a Remotely Operated Better Operating Technical System, or ROBO- wait a minute!  That didn't work!  I better think about this...

jhankwitz
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Robots
jhankwitz   9/20/2012 10:09:04 AM
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In reality, most every device we design and make is a robot of sort.  Adding the unnecessary features and eyes is what is selling this kitchen slicer at a high price to perform a very rudimentary task.

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Robots
Beth Stackpole   9/21/2012 7:18:03 AM
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@jhankwitz: It's true that the vendors are making a big deal about the humanization and emoticon capabilities of these new robots. In some cases, it definitely makes sense, especially if there is a scenario that mimics one-to-one interaction, not just co-working on a task. But I do agree, in this case, once again, it's overkill and likely a reason to sell the robot for a much higher price tag.

Jack Rupert, PE
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Re: Robots
Jack Rupert, PE   9/24/2012 2:21:13 PM
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What really struck me was the size of the thing.  Being humanoid is one set of discussions, but full-size in a cramped kitchen seems more like a gimmick  than anything else.

The other question is adaptability.  It seems to work fine for a BIG block of dough as in the video.  However, why the technology can be adapted to other types of foods, it would seem that much else would require more human intervention / setup which would kill the cost savings.

Also, any idea on the maintenance and cleaning required?  (Yes, I know China does not have the FDA).

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