Robots have already changed our relationship with food pretty drastically. From bartending to brutally butchering chicken carcasses to tasting curry and even rescuing suicidal people with delivery pizza, the rise of the machines is upon us and the gap between human and artificial intelligence (and know-how) continues to shrink.
But what about more soigné crafts like sushi-making, and all of its accompanying Jiro Ono-ish platitudes about elegance and "human touch" and mastery? Well, actually, there's a robot for that, too.
Apparently, Kawasaki's robotics arm has been hard at work making robotic arms that can assemble nigiri in seconds flat. The Japanese motorcycle, defense, and robotics company recently unveiled its sushi-assembling machine, dubbed the Robot Stage, in its showroom.
In a recent video unearthed by Gizmodo, the sushi robot can be seen using its two "arms" equipped with claw-like hands to make a piece of nigiri. The left arm first picks up a tube of wasabi and then dabs its contents onto a little bed of rice. Then, using a vacuum attachment, it lifts up a shrimp and places it gingerly in its right hand, which drops the fully-assembled nigiri on a surface for serving. The same motion is then repeated with a mock-egg prop.
The Robot Stage's movements may not be as graceful as a sushi master's, but this is certainly a step in the right direction. Sure, there's already the Sushi Robo, which basically makes 3D-printed-maki, but it's nowhere near as cool as Kawasaki's Robot Stage, which has its own arms and claws and actually serves food.
Also, for reasons which aren't entirely clear, there appears to be a cheese pizza with basil leaves lying in the background of the Kawasaki video, perhaps suggesting that Kawasaki is also working on a pizza-making robot.
Or maybe the sushi robot also makes pizza? If so, could it mean the end of the line for the pizza makers and sushi masters whose job is essentially to assemble ingredients? Will Iron Chef one day become a battle between humans and machines, instead of between humans and Bobby Flay? Has Bobby Flay been a robot all along?