You can now order Miso Robotics’ latest kitchen robot for $30,000

Miso Robotics today announced that its newest kitchen robot, Flippy Robot-on-a-Rail (ROAR), is now commercially available. The final design, which can cook up to 19 food items, mounts the robot on a recessed overhead rail to avoid interfering with human staff. On the backend, improvements to ChefUI, Miso’s software, aim to assist staff with workflows through a dashboard displayed on a 15.6-inch touchscreen mounted to the robot. An Intel depth sensor enables ChefUI to identify food and temperatures while learning to reclassify new foods introduced to ROAR.

ROAR costs around $30,000, but Miso plans to continue to price it down over the next year to $20,000 or less through a $1,000 monthly “robot-as-a-service” fee that includes regular updates and maintenance. ROAR can be purchased on a payment plan through TimePayments, and in the future, Miso says it will offer other financing options involving a lower upfront deployment fee and correspondingly higher software-as-a-service fee.

As declines in business resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic place strains on the hospitality segment, Miso believes that robots working alongside human workers can cut costs while improving efficiency — and overall safety. The company asserts its restaurant partners’ pilots to test ROAR create avenues for reducing human contact with food during the cooking process, ensuring consistency while freeing up human cooks to focus on less repetitive tasks.

Miso Robotics Flippy ROAR

Miso has long claimed that ROAR and its predecessor, Flippy, can boost productivity by working with humans as opposed to replacing them. ROAR can be installed under a standard kitchen hood or on the floor, allowing it to work two stations and interact with a cold storage hopper. It benefits from enhancements to ChefUI that expand the number of cookable food categories to chicken tenders, chicken wings, tater tots, french fries and waffle fries, cheese sticks, potato wedges, corn dogs, popcorn shrimp and chicken, onion rings, and more. Most recently, ROAR “learned” to cook Impossible Foods’ Impossible Burger, which Miso says requires special handling because of its texture and thickness.

“Additional new elements [in ROAR] … include an input zone that can receive manually loaded baskets and a safety shield that protects kitchen staff from hot fryers … Now we can really integrate not only with the POS system, but also all the delivery apps,” Miso president and chairman Buck Jordan told VentureBeat via email. “We have also added more cameras and sensors, to enhance our computer vision capabilities to drive more efficient operational workflows for operators. We can now track inventory, down to the chicken nugget, in the back of the house … And we have sped up the learning process for Flippy to scale menus — as quickly as 30 minutes in some cases.”

ROAR, which features a customizable LED panel that operators can use for branding, is able to prep hundreds of orders an hour thanks to a combination of cameras and safety scanners, procuring frozen food and cooking it without assistance from a human team member. It alerts nearby workers when orders are ready to

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Garden-weeding robotics company hires iRobot cofounder as CEO

If Tertill, the garden-weeding robot made by a Billerica startup of the same name, didn’t already remind you of the Roomba vacuum, the company’s latest hire should leave no doubt about its designs on the home automation industry.

Tertill said Tuesday that it had hired as its chairman and chief executive Helen Greiner, who was co-founder and top executive at Roomba maker iRobot of Bedford. She later founded the drone maker CyPhy Works, before leaving that role to work for the US Army as an expert on robotics, autonomous systems, and artificial intelligence.

At Tertill, Greiner is reuniting with Joe Jones, who was instrumental in creating the Roomba and later created the Tertill. Grenier said she had been independently looking for opportunities for outdoor home robots and a conversation with Tertill executives wound up convincing her to join the company.

“It’s a really under-served space from a technology point of view, and that’s a great place to be as a startup,” she said. Greiner succeeds Linda Ystueta, who becomes Tertill’s chief operating officer.

The solar-powered, weatherproof Tertill uses a small trimmer to cut weeds as they emerge while tilling the soil with its wheels to prevent unwanted plants from sprouting and taking root. It sells for about $350.

Many companies have their eyes on doing for the outdoors what Roomba and its competitors have done to the interiors of their customers’ homes. IRobot is working on a robotic lawnmower, and several other companies have launched them — including Husqvarna, which Greiner said has made an early-stage investment of $1 million in Tertill.

Greiner, who will also take over as chairwoman of the company’s board, said she’s interested in other ideas for outdoor robotic applications, such as collecting leaves or clearing snow. But for now, she said she’d be focused on building a robust business to support a product that has shown some clear consumer interest.


Andy Rosen can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @andyrosen.

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