Eater brings us the story of one Chinese restaurateur who is cutting his labor costs by building an army of noodle-making robots that can hand-slice (or machine-slice?) noodles and dump them into a pot of boiling water.
That all sounds fine and well, but we'll probably be rethinking that when the robot apocalypse begins and we realize we've armed these things with sharp objects.
The restaurateur, Cui Runguan, seems unhinged by that admittedly remote possibility. The machine, called the Chef Cui, each cost about $2,000, and Runguan thinks they're the future of sliced noodle restaurants. If their price produces sticker shock, compare that to the cost of a chef, which clocks in at about $4,700 a year.
In the video below, watch the noodle-making robots in action. Scroll down for a gallery chock full of foodie robots.
Manufacturing company Suzumo dreamed up SushiBot, which can <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=H8fTrbknOB4" target="_hplink">pump out up to 3,600 pieces an hour</a> or 300 rolls in the same time.
"Let's Pizza" Vending Machine
Pizza from a vending machine? It's no work of fiction -- this invention by Italian inventor Claudio Torghel has been serving Europeans for the last three years. Now, it's <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/13/pizza-vending-machine-lets-pizza_n_1593115.html" target="_hplink">headed to the U.S.</a> It's technically not a robot, but the whole no-humans-involved aspect is just as creepy.
Rheon Encrusting Machine
Ever wonder how your empanada got its filling? The Rheon encrusting machine may be to thank -- it's patented to stuff foods inside other foods, and fast. A factory plant outfitted with the Rheon contraptions can <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/15/rheon-encrusting-machine_n_1599832.html?utm_hp_ref=food" target="_hplink">pump out 10,000 to 15,000 pounds of a particular product an hour</a>.
The Chief Cook Robot
This little chef needed some teaching, but he quickly got the hang of things. Watch him whip up a <a href="http://www.gearfuse.com/robot-chef-renders-real-chefs-obsolete/" target="_hplink">ham and cheese omelette</a>.
Okonomiyaki is a Japanese dish of savory pancakes, and this guy -- a Motoman SDA-10 robot -- has been trained to make them. Good thing it has <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/24/dining/24robots.html?_r=1&pagewanted=1&ref=technology" target="_hplink">spatulas for arms</a>.
What better way to take all the joy and emotion out of cake decorating than have a robot do it? To be fair, an actual human being has to create the original design, so the creepy factor is much lower with this robot.
Here's a thesis for you: Two Chinese university students created a wok robot capable of <a href="http://www.popsci.com/gadgets/article/2010-04/students-invent-robot-cooks-600-chinese-dishes" target="_hplink">cooking 600 classic Chinese dishes</a>.
Yes, a robot that makes burritos. Wasn't it always inevitable? New York University student Marko Manriquez <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/13/marko-manriquez-designs-burrito-bot_n_1594138.html" target="_hplink">designed his Burritob0t </a>for a thesis project as part of the school's Interactive Telecommunications Program. <em>Photo by Flickr user marko.manriquez</em>
Yeah, another one that's not exactly-100-percent a robot, but c'mon. It's a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/23/tacocopter-startup-delivers-tacos-by-unmanned-drone-helicopter_n_1375842.html" target="_hplink">helicopter that delivers tacos!</a> U.S. laws prevent this baby from ever taking flight, but its makers envision a customer ordering from a smartphone, which sends along a GPS location. The order is sent to an unmanned drone helicopter near the central taco-making kitchen, its loaded up and the rest is obvious.
Your next <a href="http://newyork.grubstreet.com/2012/05/robot-made-coffee-from-a-kiosk.html" target="_hplink">barista may just be a robot</a>. That's already the case for some students at U.T. Austin, who order coffee from a mechanized kiosk installed on campus.
From the inventive minds of MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory comes "Bakebot," which can <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/04/cookie-baking-robot_n_918543.html" target="_hplink">bake cookies from scratch</a>. Does it lick the spoon, too?
Automatic Chicken Breast Deboning Robot
This Japanese robot can <a href="http://eater.com/archives/2011/06/24/japanese-robot-debones-1500-chickens-per-hour.php" target="_hplink">debone 1,500 chickens an hour</a> -- ten times faster than any human. It costs a pretty penny, clocking in at $560,000 a machine.
This robot bartender can't actually pour you a drinks, but can <a href="http://eater.com/archives/2012/04/27/heres-a-robot-that-grabs-drinks-at-your-command.php" target="_hplink">take your order and bring it to you</a>. We're pretty sure it can't listen to you spin a tale of your sorrows, either.
Why turn your wheels of Gruyère when a <a href="http://boingboing.net/2012/06/15/cheese-flipping-robot-patientl.html" target="_hplink">robot can do it instead</a>?