I’m not sure why, but I’m kind of intrigued with food technology. Maybe it’s because I’m an amateur foodie, and I work at a technology site. (It’s like the best of both worlds, no?)
This one, developed by Chinese restauranteur Cui Runguan, is a stunning line-up of bots working with a single-minded determination to do one thing pristinely and with precision: put out perfectly cut noodles into a vat of boiling water. Sounds simple enough, but if you’ve ever tried to do this on your own, you know how difficult it is to make them by hand. And since noodles are an incredibly important aspect of Chinese cuisine, symbolizing long life and health, anything but highly crafted and well-executed end products won’t do.
Cui’s noodle chefs are being mass-produced in China for the bargain-basement price of $2,000 each. While that may seem pricey for the average home cook, that’s nothing for restaurants, which is the target market for these robots. WIth human workers getting $4,700 a year in China for the same job, noodle shops actually stand to make quite a savings. So far, 3,000 robots have been deployed, but more are sure to follow, given that the Cui bot touches on both of the biggest passions of the modern Chinese citizenry: noodles and hi-technology. (Plus, there’s the funky glowing eyes and angled eyebrows, looking all fierce as it slices up these morsels of doughy goodness.)
Talk about modernizing a centuries-old tradition with new-fangled robotic technology.