Flip, fry, fill and fly: bots do it all in the kitchen thanks to ...

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Flip, fry, fill and fly: bots do it all in the kitchen thanks to corona

The pandemic is changing attitudes to food preparation, and tech’s hands-off approach is enticing

Matthew Field

Just days before America’s first recorded coronavirus case, robot pizza maker Zume announced it would lay off more than half of its workforce. The San Francisco start-up, which had raised $375m (R7.1bn) from SoftBank, has now focused its efforts on sustainable packaging and shut down any efforts to make and deliver pizzas using robots.

Many claim to have seen it coming. Robot chefs have long been dismissed as gimmicks. At tech shows, robot cooks from companies such as Samsung have been rolled out to impress crowds, but they have so far failed to take over kitchens. Could that be about to change?

“It is very early days to tell what will happen with coronavirus,” says Barney Wragg, co-founder of London-based robotic food preparation start-up Karakuri. “But we are seeing a lot of interest in how our technology can be used to manage food waste, cross-contamination, and offer a hands-off approach to handling food.”..

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