Chinese Noodle-Slicing Robot

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Normally when we talk about China’s plans to phase out human workers with automation we’re referring to factory assembly line workers. But one innovator is applying the efficiency, precision, and stamina of robots to the art of noodle slicing in Chinese restaurants. Perhaps a reflection of the country’s booming economy, young people, Beijing restaurant owner Cui Runguan says, simply don’t want to do the exhausting, repetitive job anymore.

So he invented a robot to do the job. The pragmatic Runguan maintains that, in the same way robots are replacing humans in factories – most famously the colossal Foxconn plants – “it is certainly going to happen in sliced noodle restaurants.”

Electronics factories and noodles – is nothing sacred in China? Obviously there is: robots.

Why hire a high-school kid to slice your noodles when a robot can do it faster and cheaper?

And from the look of the robot, the Japanese robot legend Ultraman is sacred in his Runguan’s heart. As you’ll see in the video, the robot’s back-and-forth slicing motions are about as sophisticated as those of a windshield wiper, but it churns out the noodles like Sushibot rolls out the rice – super fast.

The robots went into mass production this past March and are going for about 13,000 Chinese yuan – or about $2,000 – each.

The robot’s actually rather tall and imposing, which suggests that the robot requires a good amount of hardware beneath that superhero exterior (even if, I’m going to assume, the head is just for show). Over 3,000 have already been sold, which means the robotic noodle-slicing revolution is on. Not sure how sharp the knife is, but let’s hope there’s an emergency stop switch. We want the robot to resemble Ultraman in appearance only.

[images: Zoominuk via YouTube]

[video: Zoominuk via YouTube]

images: Zoominuk
video: Zoominuk via YouTube

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 Singula...

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