Robot Serves Up 360 Hamburgers Per Hour

186,540 77 Loading

UPDATE: To read more about how workers will be affected by automation technology, check out Hub's follow up post Burger Robot Poised to Disrupt Fast Food Industry

No longer will they say, “He’s going to end up flipping burgers.” Because now, robots are taking even these ignobly esteemed jobs. Alpha machine from Momentum Machines cooks up a tasty burger with all the fixins. And it does it with such quality and efficiency it’ll produce “gourmet quality burgers at fast food prices.”

With a conveyor belt-type system the burgers are freshly ground, shaped and grilled to the customer’s liking. And only when the burger’s finished cooking does Alpha slice the tomatoes and pickles and place them on the burger as fresh as can be. Finally, the machine wraps the burger up for serving.

And while you fret over how many people you invited to the barbecue, Alpha churns out a painless 360 hamburgers per hour.

San Francisco-based Momentum Machines claim that using Alpha will save a restaurant enough money that it pays for itself in a year, and it enables the restaurant to spend about twice as much on ingredients as they normally would – so they can buy the gourmet stuff. Saving money with Alpha is pretty easy to imagine. You don’t even need cashiers or servers. Customers could just punch in their order, pay, and wait at a dispensing window.

Source: Momentum Machines

For their next model Momentum Machines plans on adding a custom meat grinding feature so it can mix different meats – 1/3 pork, 2/3 bison sounds like a tasty combo – in the same burger. They’ll also give it gourmet cooking abilities that seasoned chefs use such as charring the burger while retaining its juiciness.

The company plans on launching the first ever restaurant chain with a cook staff made entirely of robots. But not only might we soon find Alpha’s creations at local burger joints, but the company is also targeting convenience stores, food trucks, and somehow even vending machines.

You think Americans are obese right now? Just wait.

(Big thanks to Singularity Hub member Tamas Simon for bringing the Alpha machine to our attention!)

Peter Murray

Peter Murray was born in Boston in 1973. He earned a PhD in neuroscience at the University of Maryland, Baltimore studying gene expression in the neocortex. Following his dissertation work he spent three years as a post-doctoral fellow at the same university studying brain mechanisms of pain and motor control. He completed a collection of short stories in 2010 and has been writing for Singularity Hub since March 2011.

Discussion — 77 Responses

  • DanHegelund January 22, 2013 on 9:30 am

    Be sure to follow up when they finally launch. I sure would like to taste one. Yummy!

  • James Thornton January 22, 2013 on 10:18 am

    Americans are awesome and know everything. They get to believe in God and God then gets to be really real, because it would be too much of a disappointment if he weren’t. Americans also get to play cowboy with assault weapons, because it makes them safer and they deserve to be safe damnit!

    Americans are so fantastic that they can bend reality to their will with nothing but sheer force of will!

    • deerhunter James Thornton January 22, 2013 on 4:21 pm


      I’m not sure what your verbal sneering at Americans has to do with a machine that makes hamburgers. Nevertheless, I guess you needed to get that out. I hope you feel better. Your comment doesn’t indicate your nationality but I presume you think things are better there. Good! Please stay there.

      • James Thornton deerhunter January 23, 2013 on 3:35 pm


        Please go off some innocent deers.

        With an assault rifle.

        Using cheezeburgers as bait.

        Then have the damn thing stuffed and hang it on the wall.

        Then tell your friends you almost went down in a fire of blazing glory.

        Just like Rambo.

        That’ll show’em you’re a tough cookie!

        Your lack of education will pale in comparison to your deerhunting achievements.

        • deerhunter James Thornton January 24, 2013 on 4:02 pm

          Hmmm, what should I say here? Nothing. Nothing I could say would make you look less credible than your own comment did. I hope you have a great life. I’ll say a prayer for you. That should really piss you off.

          • James Thornton deerhunter January 26, 2013 on 4:26 pm

            Yes, say prayers.

            That’ll change something!

            Except it won’t.

            Because you can’t really bend reality to your will.

            You fucking donkey.

          • deerhunter deerhunter January 27, 2013 on 5:19 pm

            @ James

            When you’re in a hole, sometimes it’s advisable to stop digging. Have a nice life.

        • Facebook - neal.scroggs.9 James Thornton December 4, 2013 on 12:49 pm

          The plural of deer is deer. Learn some basic grammar before indulging your appetite for opinion-mongering, then you won’t seem so much like an ignorant yob with a smartphone paid for by public subsidy

        • kccsr1 James Thornton December 6, 2013 on 2:31 pm

          James, not sure why you hate a whole group of people, of which I’m certain you do not know them all. If Americans, or America in general has wronged you, then tell of the wrong. Your rant is confusing without telling what ails you. Hopefully you can educate us. I may not always agree, but I know I respect all peoples and cultures of the world. Both our similarities and differences fascinate me. As well, it’s always helpful to know how others in the world perceive us, our cultures, and our traditions. I am a black American woman so my perspective of my nation is multi-faceted. We have much to be proud of as a nation after overcoming the horrors of chattel slavery and Jim Crow. We are people, arriving to the American shores in different ways, from different lands, under varied circumstances, and at different times, but we are all Americans. We are one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and FINALLY justice for all. We imperfect and yet to live up to the highest ideas of this nations founders, but we are striving. Sinful men will always take good ideas and pervert them, but we are striving. Money, power, and greed will corrupt even the noblest of ideas, but we are striving. Our government is not perfect, but we are still the hope of the world and people today, from lands all over the world risk life and limb to get here. We are striving. Don’t hold the sins of a few against every American. We are striving. Godspeed!

          • Facebook - mattwavle kccsr1 December 7, 2013 on 8:20 am

            Great Reply, well written, YOU spoke MY heart out.

        • Steve Franklin James Thornton August 15, 2014 on 12:08 pm

          Made zero sense. “Deers” and “cheezeburger” proves you’re a 12 year old malcontent.

    • failcake James Thornton January 22, 2013 on 4:57 pm

      @James: Comment WIN! 😀

      @deerhunter: Boo-hoo, sore loser. Get back to your “American Dream” reality distortion bubble.

      • Gorgand Grandor failcake January 23, 2013 on 10:31 am

        More like comment fail… Where did deerhunter big up America? He wasn’t even playing. I’m as miffed as he is as to why James is digging at America with things that having nothing to do with the article…

        …or is it the hamburgers? Well, the idea of picking on Americans for being the very fattest is kinda lame. if you live anywhere in the Western world. Here in the UK, we’re following closely behind for obesity rates. The USA are just in the lead. It’s not like they planned this out as part of some evil American capitalist plot, so we can lay off a little. It’s just that high calorie fast food was such a good idea because it was easy, and it just happens to be TOO easy.

        • Elias A. Constantine Gorgand Grandor January 24, 2013 on 3:16 pm

          America is always evil, the European backward Paleolithic mind is always jealous that it can never think up such things. Economy of scale, law of increasing and exponential returns, Bah! We’ll do it the old fashioned medieval way with human labor and oxen!

          • James Thornton Elias A. Constantine January 26, 2013 on 4:28 pm

            You’re right, Elias. When it comes to technological progress, Internet connections are a good example.

            US Internet is one of the fastest in the world!

            Except it’s not. It’s one of the slowest.

            And you got no healthcare.

            And no education.

            Goddamn the USA sucks.

      • failcake failcake August 12, 2013 on 6:49 am

        Comment win?

        In which reality?

    • AchaiaDust James Thornton May 5, 2014 on 2:35 pm

      You’re all insane.. But hey. It could be worse. We could be from North Korea. They landed on the Sun using the shadow of night as cover from it’s harmful rays you know. In under eighteen hours back and forth too! Now -that’s- some crazy will bending. You know what else is crazy? Weirdos who come on the internet and read about a job stealing hamburger machine just to bitch about Americans. Because you, sir.. do not have Yoshi-P in your life. Accept Yoshi-P as your lord and savior, and he will bless you with Atma above the 3% drop ratio. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Yeah.. now you know how we feel reading your comments. 😛

    • Steve Franklin James Thornton August 15, 2014 on 12:05 pm

      Your jealousy is showing, poof.

  • Brett Long January 22, 2013 on 10:50 am

    Will this have an effect on employment levels in the U.S.?

    • Eric Stob Brett Long January 22, 2013 on 4:41 pm


    • failcake Brett Long January 22, 2013 on 5:12 pm

      Events like this in the past show, that it depends on the mental capabilities. *Not* how smart they *think* they are, but how intelligent they *actually* are. Which very often differs a lot!
      In a healthy society, such changes give people room to focus on higher tasks. So unless those people are mentally dead passive cattle, they won’t waste that freedom, and will find, and even create, new and better jobs.

      Flipping burgers is a horrible waste of healthy human minds anyway. If a machine can do it, a machine should do it. But the person that did it before must gain the additional free time.

      Studies have shown that e.g. in Germany and many other modern countries, we’re already way past that point, and with letting machines do things, we could already create so much wealth, that we could give every single person an unconditional basic income of 1000-2000€ instead of taxing them. The room for innovation, education, science etc that would create, is huge!

      • Anthony Palmer failcake January 23, 2013 on 11:07 am

        That is encouraging! I have been interested in the idea of a “basic income guarantee” since I read “Lights in the Tunnel”, by Martin Ford. Would you please cite some of these studies here (author, year, title, Publication)? Thanks.

  • Improbus Liber January 22, 2013 on 10:54 am

    Will low skill labor turn into Luddites breaking the machines? The future is looking bleak for those with low IQs and no basic skills, reasoning or other.

    • Derek Scontrino Improbus Liber January 22, 2013 on 11:11 am

      Lets hope this causes a drastic reduction in the birthrates of those with lower IQs. Either that or check out the movie Idiocracy to see our possible future!

      • Ecs Attendie Derek Scontrino January 23, 2013 on 11:50 pm

        I am not sure if IQ of a person is highly from his genetics, but his surroundings…

  • why06 January 22, 2013 on 2:08 pm

    Having worked in the food industry it was boring and monotonous at slow times and unbearable fast and frustrating during lunch hour. The drastic changes in speed really get to you. Hours are terrible because they can only afford to keep so many people on depending on expected customers. Not to mention you are expected to work during times of day everyone else is out, so that you can serve those people that would normally be yourself having a good time.

    Quality, service, and speed are incredibly difficult to balance. Humans are doing it no better than a machine would. All you need is a man at the counter for customer complaints, because even if a customer punches in his order wrong he will expect a refund.

    IMO those wages have been stagnant for over a decade now and the industry is only finding clever ways to bring them down lower. Id rather a machine do it, if it means a human being won’t be subject to those conditions.

    Some people love to cook and serve, I just wish for a world where people can do what they want to do and not what they have to do.

    • failcake why06 January 22, 2013 on 5:20 pm

      That’s already possible, current studies show. We just have to have machines do most of the work, and would create so much wealth, that we could give everyone a unconditional basic income.

      The only “problem” is, that greedy fat cats couln’t keep all the money, but the machines would serve the nation as a whole. And fat cats *love* to state that with such an income “nobody would be interested in working anymore”, even though all scientific knowledge points to the opposite: They would start doing what they *want*… with passion… and hence work harder than ever before. (As such things tend to be strongly self-motivating.)
      They only wouldn’t want to work insulting slave jobs for greedy fat cats anymore. And obviously, those types *hate* that.

      • Nicholas Boscaino failcake January 22, 2014 on 8:19 pm

        How then do you explain the lost souls that sit around mesmerized by a video game or someone who watches movies all day. It is a glorious “idea” that we would all be motivated to be philosophers and sit around discussing life but I find that most people when they are not pressed by a need to work decide not to work. Rather, a person decides to toil over getting to the next mindless level of candy crush. There is a self fulfillment when a man accomplishes a needed task. Once the robots take over we will lose our humanity. I even wonder if there will be an eventual suicidal paradox when humans finally find that they are obsolete cattle. It may be that life will just not be worth living but we shall see because we are on our way there.

    • RBETurner why06 January 22, 2013 on 11:36 pm

      Sounds like a good line of work to be automated. I’d like to see our society evolve to finally see a resource-based economy come about, and people then can do as you mentioned: (to paraphrase) Do what they love, not what they feel they must, just to survive. There will, of course, be a transition. But in the end, people as a whole will be better off, and will be able to better pursue those interests that really ‘speak’ to them.

      • Jean Picard RBETurner February 12, 2013 on 2:10 pm

        The anti-industry sentiment is making you guys blind to reality.
        Due to the widespread mass-production of frozen veggies/fruits/pre-cooked meals (be it chicken cordon blue, pizza, noodle based dishes, etc…), the amount of work needed, be it for professionals or people cooking at home went down considerably. Not to mention the quality of the food that went up (and I’m not talking about 99c “meals” that you should throw away, but decent product) and the availability, no matter the geographical location or time of the year.

        And there’s a huge difference between cooking professionally, because you like the work or its your calling and flipping burgers for people who look down on you, because you are “some loser behind the counter who’s flipping burgers”.

        So when robots create the mass-produced pizza, why should it be any different with other fast food? When this happens on this medium-size scale and can increase the output, lower the costs and maintain the quality, then why not? Why should we, complaining about the horrible education and how dumb and ignorant to their outside world people are, turn around and maintain an industry which breeds mindless “human robots”, who work under bad conditions, are horrible paid, treated badly and can’t honestly find any inspiration in their line of work?

        By the way, I have to laugh at the “low IQ” comments regarding “flipping burgers”, as if you couldn’t train the same people for a week to look for errors in Excel spread sheets, which is still done via manpower in many companies and the people doing that kind of work don’t need more “IQ” than the ones “flipping burgers”. Mind you, some basic knowledge of how computers work is necessary. How hard is that to find among young adults these days? Not hard!

        We are already FULL ON SPEED in the transition phase and we already feel the change, when it comes to jobs on the engineering/manufacturing side of things. “Flipping burgers” should be somehow outside of that development? No, it is not and we shouldn’t pretend it is.

        Yes, the biggest question is not what we will do without the “burger flippers”, but what will happen, when the pseudo-entitled realize, that their oh-so-important contributions to society can be fulfilled by an AI-automatism just as good, or (lets be real here) much better, faster and cheaper than they can.

        And this will (lets look at the next 50 years) encompass roughly 90-95% of all fields, professions and “jobs”.

        But hey, the “low IQ” people in the Singularity movement (lets call it that) are just looking at the machines and their progress, while only a tiny minority has both the perspective and intelligence, paired with the knowledge, to foresee and counteract the societal developments that are ahead.

        This is what bothers me about the whole discussion. I don’t see the people who realize what the advantages (technological) will do to the societal aspect of the human civilization as a whole. And that’s the only point worth discussing, because that’s the only field where we can prepare right now and have to act in advance, before the major changes start to occur (starting in the late 2020s).

        Like I mentioned; it won’t touch the lives of the “low IQ” crowd only, because in a world, where people much smarter than you develop systems which act much smarter than you in your specific field and function, 90-95% of the people won’t be necessary in order for the system to function.

        And those living in their bubble of the “I won’t be touched by this, because I do CREATIVE work that machines can’t possibly do!” will have the hardest awakening of all those who will be left without a “job”.
        Flipping burgers or designing cars……… will be all the same to a creative (and much more productive) intelligent machine.

  • lyrralt January 22, 2013 on 4:46 pm

    At what point do we refuse to do any more automation because of the jobs it will cost? A lot of teens will lose potential employment if this becomes wide spread. I like the idea in general, but think it is problematic when you consider the entire picture.

    • Eric Stob lyrralt January 22, 2013 on 4:57 pm

      are you suggesting outlawing robots?

      • Ben Smash Eric Stob January 22, 2013 on 5:09 pm

        only way to stop them taking over the world…crafty bastards…

    • failcake lyrralt January 22, 2013 on 5:26 pm

      Bullshit presumption. And (inverse) “broken window” fallacy.
      It has been shown many many times throughout history, that it doesn’t cost jobs. It *replaces* jobs. It *enables* people, to follow higher callings, and result in new markets and better jobs. Or what do you think those people who saved money with thins will do with their money? They will invest it into other things. That’s where the new better jobs come from.

      But dumb people apparently still love spreading that FUD / fearmongering lie…

      • why06 failcake January 22, 2013 on 5:41 pm

        I think there’s a happy medium between being a Luddite and an “It creates new jobs kind of guys”.

        What history has show is those jobs really are destroyed, whatever new jobs that are needed to manage the automated industry are ultimately a dramatic downsize of the original workforce. Luckily improved technology creates whole new jobs, usually not related to the industry that was automated.

        One wall we are running into is the increasing sophistication of these jobs and the stress on the educational system and people’s mental capacity. I tend to feel things get worse before they get better, but they get better.

        • Eric Bergemann why06 January 28, 2013 on 7:49 am

          This is completely false, what happened to the work force after tractors and other farming equipment made it so only 1/10th of the previous workforce was required in farming? Sure, it took awhile for people to adjust, however, since the cost of food went down to incredibly low levels, people spent their money on other things.

          It is the low costs of automation that allow people to enjoy the products at low prices while also being able to now spend their extra money on other things, thereby increasing jobs elsewhere.

          Automation is win win, it is so sad that not enough people learn economics in school. So sad.

          Here is another question for you, would you rather have people working in a job that doesn’t benefit society at all? If a robot can reduce the price of products, why pay someone to product a burger when something else can do it cheaper? It would be better for the person to lose their job so they can work in a job that actually benefits society instead of holding it back.

      • digi_owl failcake January 23, 2013 on 2:28 am

        The likely outcome is somewhere between the luddite and libertarian predicition. A percentage of the replaced workers will find jobs elsehwere, the rest will not. Big question is how society deals with that rest.

      • Nicholas Boscaino failcake January 22, 2014 on 8:30 pm

        Ummm, I am not so sure about that. 8% unemployment is pretty much now the norm. Now we have about 95 Million people either unemployed or under employed.

        Just allow me here: If a cyborg (futuristic speaking of course) can pretty much do anything a human can, faster and more efficient then where then is there a place for a person to aspire to go with his lofty dreams? See the paradox?

        That is where we are heading so I think we are starting to see an inevitable shift where the created is going to render the creator obsolete. We are trending towards obsolescence and we are accelerating. By the way acceleration is a bad thing economically. It creates big time instability.

    • arpad lyrralt January 22, 2013 on 5:44 pm

      What do you mean “we”?

      I think automation’s just peachy. It’s what got us off the farm and if you think flipping burgers isn’t much fun try farm labor. Not our modern day, lots-of-machines-to-do-the-hard-work farm labor but 1820’s or earlier farm labor and even then they had gadgets to reduce labor. Oh, and along with forcing people to find jobs that payed better that automation reduced the cost of food.

    • Justin Leone lyrralt January 30, 2013 on 10:04 am

      You’re not entirely wrong. It IS problematic when jobs are automated on a large scale, but it doesn’t have to be. Ideally, when a job is automated, it increases the efficiency of the entire system, and the resultant increase of resources and wealth means we all have more time to work less and enjoy life more, or work more at something we find more stimulating than flipping burgers. In practice, at least in the USA, what frequently happens is that all the profits are pocketed by those with enough money to invest in the machines.

      Many people, in favor of a “business friendly” flat tax model don’t understand this concept, but the fact of the matter is that labor, as a concept, is quickly becoming obsolete. This can result in a golden age of plenty in which we can all prosper, admittedly on the backs of the wealthy business owners, who in turn prosper on the “sweat” of their robot workers. The alternative is a dark age in which most of us wither away and die, in the shadow of SUPER-wealthy business owners, who prosper on the “sweat” of their robot workers.

      Not that the rest of us would be idle, even in the former scenario. You’d get some slackers who are content to sit around and enjoy the life provided by the automated age they’ve been born into, but most people would use the benefits of their comfortable life to indulge in artistic and intellectual pursuits that might continue to make the world a better place.

  • Andrew Atkin January 22, 2013 on 8:45 pm

    Better still!…A Google fully-automated micro-car (about the size of a dog) will post it to your house in 5-20 minutes, for another 10-cents delivery fee.

    Now’s the time to invest in mass-food production. Google micro-cars will be among the first things to get produced from full-automation transport technology.

  • John Gotts January 22, 2013 on 9:39 pm

    Back in the late 90’s there was an automated gas station near where I lived in North Carolina. The concept never caught on. If the automated burger thing does works out, though, it won’t be making gourmet burgers. The robots will just slap together the same low-quality ingredients (frozen patties assembled from hundred of cows a thousand miles away, buns and sauces full of chemical preservatives) that chains use today.

  • John Smith January 23, 2013 on 3:13 am

    The next small step into the Matrix 😉

  • t January 23, 2013 on 4:46 am

    Automation is slowly beginning to happen in everything…not just semi-skilled flipping burgers kind of jobs.

    Software coding (aka software engineering), tax preparation, movie making, composing music, news articles, manufacturing etc

  • Joe Cushing January 23, 2013 on 6:24 am

    I love it and I also love that out of the first 17 comments, 16 cheered it on and only 1 person pointed out the tired old argument about lost jobs. Is this a sign that people are becoming more informed on this topic or is it just the readership of the web site? The argument was debunked already so I’ll leave it alone.

    As more and more things become automated fewer and fewer people as a proportion of the economy will have to work. We are already seeing this play out. Nearly everyone gets and opportunity to work for a while and then live independently wealthy for a while. Portion of our lives where we are so wealthy that we don’t have to work (retirement) is growing. One day, some people will never have to work and they will only do so because they are creative and want to invent stuff, write stuff, draw stuff etc.

    • Jake Witmer Joe Cushing January 23, 2013 on 12:23 pm

      The “lost jobs” Luddites were waiting in the queue

    • digitalcole Joe Cushing January 23, 2013 on 8:31 pm

      “We are already seeing this play out. Nearly everyone gets and opportunity to work for a while and then live independently wealthy for a while.”

      Most people in the US call that unemployment and there isn’t a lot of wealth involved.

      I personalty can’t wait to turn all of the jobs over to the machines, but we need a foundation that support our society first. I see a lot of ideas being thrown about, but it worries me that we haven’t implemented any of them.

  • Thor Tallmon January 23, 2013 on 7:42 am

    THIS is how it starts. First, they start making hamburgers, then all of a sudden they decide they want ‘to serve man.’

    • Jake Witmer Thor Tallmon January 23, 2013 on 12:22 pm

      LOL –I wonder how many people will get the “Twilight Zone” reference.

    • stainless steel rat Thor Tallmon January 23, 2013 on 1:56 pm

      No! That’s not right. “To Serve Man” was an alien cookbook. Haven’t you ever watched “The Twilight Zone”? Machines don’t need to eat,aliens do. Story by Damon Knight.

    • Scott Lahteine Thor Tallmon January 23, 2013 on 5:09 pm

      “The rest of the book ‘To Serve Man,’ it’s… it’s a sex manual!”

      • stainless steel rat Scott Lahteine January 23, 2013 on 11:31 pm

        I like that better Scott. Pass one out to every woman on the planet. It could still be a cookbook though. My wife asked me to take her somewhere she’s never been,so I showed her the kitchen. Ta dum!

  • Hilarity Ensues January 23, 2013 on 8:28 am

    That is one shitty looking burger. Can that robot sign a counselling report?

  • Jake Witmer January 23, 2013 on 12:12 pm

    Excellent article, excellent machine. I hope they make billions of dollars. (They
    already would be if it weren’t for the stupid parasites in government limiting vending
    machines with their stupid “a human must be present” and overzealous “food handling” laws.)
    Japan is already vending-enabled, and it’s reduced the cost of food and time of eating,
    thus increasing freedom and productivity.

    Of course, Japan has shinto, and isn’t saddled with the addled puritanistic mindset.

    In 7-11s in Bangkok, there are refrigerated/frozen microwave meals that are sold by the
    truckload at lunchtime. They sell pad thai, spicy thai basil chicken, chicken curry,
    curry udon, etc. The meals are comparable in quality to what you’d get at a mediocre
    Thai restaurant. Since I’d rather eat at a mediocre Thai restaurant than McDonald’s if I
    was rushed, and my choices were McDs, Wendys, Subway, —I’d always eat the Thai food.
    These meals can be prepared very quickly (1:30 in microwave), and are sold for around $3
    in Bangkok.

    Essentially, they are already served by “robots” they are sold at a convenience counter
    where a person acts like a robot to try to quickly accept money from people -making
    the human rush and hustle and still fail, as people approach the end of the line (end
    of the queue for you brits) and then get discouraged by how slow it’s moving, and walk
    away, having only 30 min or 1 hour to eat.

    Technically, nothing stops them from being placed with their stocking doors facing a
    “loading zone” and allowing a robot truck with a robot driver pull up and load them,
    like magazines into a gun. If the loading of the machine could be lined up with sensor
    tags, it could be unlocked and loaded and resealed entirely by robot. (Also, the rest
    of that side of the machine could be an advertisement showing the finished result of
    the food being sold, in the format the customer will receive it, as a giant advertisement
    that includes the price as an electronic display. In fact, the price could even decrease
    when the day/week/month’s 1st-tier profitability margins were reached. Food that’s
    less expensive than you expected!)

    In a crowded campus area, they’d beat the price and quality of the crappy University
    Food service (Univ food services at Univ of Alabama, Tuscaloosa would beat the
    quality, but not the diverse ethnic offerings and price). If the vending machines
    could deal with frozen items, they could have a “frozen magazine” that could then be
    unthawed. Pay via credit card or via cash, or via bitcoin. All payment types accepted.

    This would sell out daily, rapidly at almost every university in the USA.

    The basic idea is super-cheap Thai and Indian food. A permutation of that idea is to
    sell super cheap Thai and Indian food in areas of cities that are those ethnic minorities
    (almost all Indian restaurants on Devon, for instance, have a significant wait time, and are
    more expensive than fast food). Additionally, one could cater to diverse student “groups
    of friends” by offering a choice for every nationality, plus US-style pizza with diverse
    toppings. The toppings could be backlit when available (which also allows new toppings to
    always be added. With reduced labor costs, the toppings could cost an extra $0.05 to $0.10
    —far cheaper than other offerings). The ultimate goal could be to reduce the costs of the
    vended food to $1/day. (I’ve had a $1 chicken sandwich at McD before, and I was really
    happy, even though this was post-Kurzweil, because I was entirely out of cash at the time.

    An even more novel implementation would be to have a prediction engine waste a few meals
    at lunchtime, in order to deal a “very, very, fast serving.” (A serving with literally no
    waiting. The pickup lines would need to be at least a row of 5 feet. I’m thinking a very
    slender “storefront” vending machine, that has a row of pickup stations that are lower
    than the “magazine stack.”) (The machine, at peak times, predicts the increase in traffic,
    and heats up meals that will be discarded if noone purchases them within one minute.
    People wait for their order to be done, in a different area than they pay for it, so
    nobody waits in line.) Ie: A Hawkins-type architecture (or not Hawkins, it could also
    be done with a more simplistic “single use” pattern recognizer) could predict swells of
    certain sales around lunchtime.

    I think that covers a lot of the “vision” portion. The implementation would need
    to be quick, because even sociopathic political parasites typically don’t shut down
    things that are very popular. And, if they did, we could always just have our robots
    hunt them all down and kill them a la the Wachowski siblings’ “B166ER”. LOL

    Thanks for pushing my buttons, singularityhub. LOL

  • mister pointer outer January 23, 2013 on 12:37 pm

    how on earth is slicing a rotten tomato “as fresh as can be”??? shitty writing, shitty analysis, shitty article.

  • Scott Lahteine January 23, 2013 on 5:06 pm

    Replace the beef with something more healthy and I’m lovin’ it.

  • Frank Whittemore January 24, 2013 on 4:03 am

    Robot Makers Spread Global Gospel…

    Click on the link for the New York Times report –

  • Anthony Newell Jr. January 24, 2013 on 6:12 am

    ok thats all and good but whats next?? first fast food then gourmet restuarants. I’m in school right now to become a chef so what yal got to say about that ?what about those whose passion is to create art with food…if there is a robot who can do it faster and better and cheaper, why the f*** am i in school slowly increasing my debt and decreasing my credit score??

    • Eric Bergemann Anthony Newell Jr. January 28, 2013 on 9:13 am

      If people want to pay for gourmet food, then you will be fine. However, if people end up not wanting gourmet food, should you still be a chef then? If no one wants what you produce, should you still be producing it? People forget that there are two sides of the coin. You get a job doing something not only to help yourself, but to help others. If what you do doesn’t help anyone, then why pay you for your work?

      It sure would be nice if school lenders could evaluate market conditions before giving you your school loan. They could, with market analysis, notice the amount of chefs entering the market and schools and look at the demand for chefs to determine if giving you a loan in that major is worth it, they could even give you some other alternative majors that they would be more apt to lend for. Then you would be less likely to be stuck in debt without a job. Right now, according to the law, they can’t and they just give you a loan no matter what you are studying. You just have to hope that people want chefs when you graduate. Of course, I don’t see sit down waited restaurants going away any time soon, but I can see it nice having some assurances by lenders or someone that the likelihood of being hired as a chef is sufficient.

  • Robert Schreib January 25, 2013 on 2:21 pm

    ?! If the blue collar demographic cannot even get jobs at fast food places flipping burgers due to this robot replacing them, where will they get jobs? Technically, this is an amazing achievement, but wide spread application of it could prove to be an economic disaster for many.

  • Wanda Louise Snyder January 29, 2013 on 9:12 am

    Keep doing away with human jobs there won’t be enuf people to buy the hamburgers!

  • Ran Hansen February 7, 2013 on 5:34 am

    This fast food cooking machine will put an end to illegal immigration.

  • Ernst Hall February 7, 2013 on 6:55 am

    Poor Thornton, wherever (and whatever). Surely he is happy, as ignorance is bliss. Try even getting healthcare for non-critical incidents in Great Britain. Not all Americans are well educated, but those that choose to be have the best of opportunities. There are certainly far more tech start-ups here than other places (except Israel). And though I rarely eat any of them, automated burger makers might free up a savvy young person to go through medical school and provide Thornton with a brain transplant.

  • Ron Rekowski February 11, 2013 on 1:46 pm

    Why does this website insist on calling anything with any level of automation a Robot??? This is an automated assembly line. Very basic motion, no articulation. This process is pretty much controlled with digital I/O turning motors on/off and can be sequenced with a PLC.

  • Kayla Florence March 15, 2013 on 11:37 am

    This is not good, I can’t see anything good in this, you are going to take away even more jobs in the name of not wasting money? How can you in good conscience take away a serving position that a single mother desperately depends on to feed her kids? Or a cook who for whatever reason, can’t find alternative employment. This is GREED. Pure and simple. People want to make more and more and more money, but what is the real cost? You will NEVER see me supporting one of these! I personally like to see my neighbors and friends not worrying about where their next meal will come from… SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESS!

  • JT December 6, 2013 on 11:17 am

    Even a machine can’t make a sandwich right. Since when do the condiments go on the heel of a bun? Why do you think they’re called toppings? Toppings go on the crown of a bun. Who makes sandwiches with bottoming’s at home? Come on, do people really make their sandwiches this way at home? I do and it saves me lots of money and stress trying to teach incompetent lazy people how to make a sandwich. That little less than a half inch bun heel shreds under the load of mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion, catsup, and mustard dumping everything down the front of you while properly prepared using the crown does not. I had fast food restaurant manager tell me once that they make it that way so when you open your sandwich you can see the meat. What do I need to see the meat for? Have they forgotten to put it on in the past? There’s only a dozen or so fast food and theme restaurants I don’t go to anymore because of their inability to make a sandwich correctly, especially when asked to do so. The next step was to ask for all the condiments on the side so I can make my own sandwich but I got sick of that and decided if I have to make my own, then I might as well stay at home. If I really think about it, the thing that bothers me the most is these yahoo’s will not go out of business because of the lack of my money funding their ignorance.

    • Facebook - bud.nelson.39 JT December 6, 2013 on 1:43 pm

      Toppings are your greatest concern? So be it, sir. You have always had the ability to construct your sandwich as you see fit. That hasn’t changed. Only the length of your gripe about someone else. Have at it. The more you speak, the less others will listen to such trivial mouthings. Run for office. People will listen carefully to you then. Guaranteed!

  • Facebook - bud.nelson.39 December 6, 2013 on 1:38 pm

    This is what has helped build america. Ideas, brought to market as factual, performing and eventually cheaper to use. We have always sought to cut labor costs as these are too often the biggest impediment to growth and success. And, as situations such as this continue to flourish, both here and around the globe, jobs, and unskilled labor will falter and eventually disappear. Education, and the desire to achieve better as we continue to be us, must be what we ALL encourage of us all. Or we will achieve ourselves into oblivion.

  • Facebook - allen.crowley.52 December 6, 2013 on 2:23 pm

    Minimum wages have just priced people out of jobs. Excellent thinking to take advantage of that. Way to go Alpha Burgers.

  • Facebook - ronn.dunn December 6, 2013 on 3:31 pm

    And it won’t go peepee in your Coke.

  • Facebook - audrey.coleman.14 December 6, 2013 on 5:49 pm

    Hey, fast food workers that want $15/hr – meet your replacement!

  • Facebook - toddaclemmer December 9, 2013 on 9:20 am

    Anything to put the current urbanite population out of work that could give a rats a$$ about your food is fine with me.

  • trisn January 8, 2014 on 4:39 pm

    Well, that’s put an end to my career.

  • Love King February 5, 2014 on 4:37 pm

    Machines are EVIL!