Miso Robotics today announced that it has raised $10 million to bring its restaurant worker robot Flippy to fast food chains and restaurants. Flippy will begin flipping burgers at CaliBurger in Pasadena, California later this year and expand to 50 CaliBurger locations by the end of 2019.

Flippy is an industrial robotic arm mounted to the floor and modified for use in a commercial kitchen. The arm was manufactured by Fanuc and utilizes Miso Robotics’ cloud AI platform to operate the robot using a combination of cameras, thermal scanners, and lasers. Later this year, the robot will adopt additional skills to complete new tasks, cofounder David Zito told VentureBeat in a phone interview.

“Flippy can detect cheeseburgers and remove cheeseburgers. After they’re flipped, it can change spatulas while it’s working so that we’re actually adhering to food safety guidelines, and will switch to a grill scraper and be able to clean off portions of the grill after it’s done cooking burgers,” he said.

In addition to bringing Flippy to CaliBurger, Miso Robotics will use the funding announced today to place its AI platform in other robots for restaurants, fast food places, or large kitchen operations.

“The proceeds for this will allow us to build a robotic kitchen assistant,” Zito said. “You’re not going to see BB-8 coming out of our shop; you’ll likely see us continue to refine this — the general hardware platform that we have, but then we will see it beginning to get more collaborative and adaptable.”

The $10 million round was led by Acacia Research Corporation, with participation from Levy, OpenTable CTO Joseph Essas, and Cali Group, owner of CaliBurger.

Miso Robotics is one of a number of companies trying to use robots to replace or augment fast food workers. Others include Cafex in San Francisco, which uses a robotic arm to serve up coffee and tea, and Pepper from SoftBank Robotics.



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