We’ve heard about all kinds of people losing their jobs to robots — from cab drivers to bartenders — but almost any repetitive job can be replaced by a robot.
One fantastically tasty example of this is the Noodlebot, which was originally patented under the name Chef Cui by its inventor Cui Runguan.
Noodblebot burst onto the scene back in 2012, but we just discovered him and we couldn’t resist sharing.
Noodlebot is cheap, uncomplicated, and according to some restaurant owners, actually “better than human chefs.”
Traditionally, a chef makes and kneads the wheat-based dough by hand, then holds the dough in one hand and cuts with the other.
The stationary robot works much in the same way, but it’s faster and more accurate. According to CNN, Noodlebot can slice 150 pieces of noodles a minute, and can be programmed to cut noodles of different widths and lengths.
Noodlebot’s knife-wielding arm works like a windshield wiper — slicing noodles in an up and down motion. The cut noodles fire directly into the wok.
The uncut dough sits on a platform in front of the robot. The platform moves up and side to side, allowing the other arm to cut across the dough.
Noodlebot’s aim isn’t perfect, so it helps to have a more experienced chef standing guard.
Runguan believes Noodlebot will allow entry-level cooks to work on more rewarding tasks in the kitchen.
“Young people don’t want to work as chefs slicing noodles because this job is very exhausting,” Runguan told Zoomin.TV. “It is a trend that robots will replace men in factories, and it is certainly going to happen in noodle slicing restaurants.”
You’d think many restaurant owners would be terrified of Noodlebot. Its menacing unibrow and constantly shifting eyes make it impossible to tell if it will suddenly turn to you and say “You’re next” all while calmly cutting noodles.
Runguan designed the Noodlebot to look like characters from a famous 1960 Japanese show called “Ultraman” at the behest of his son, according to CNN.
“The robot chef can slice noodles better than human chefs and it is much cheaper than a real human chef,” Liu Maohu told Zoomin.TV in 2012. “It costs more than [$US4700] to hire a chef for a year, but the robot just costs me [$US1500].”
And Maohu’s customers don’t seem to mind. According to Zoomin.TV, one customer said he couldn’t tell the difference between the human-made and robot-made noodles, and that Noodlebot’s noodles “taste good and look great.”
In fact, like many food-making robots, watching Noodlebot is strangely mesmerising. Noodlebot makes for some pretty awesome pre-dinner entertainment and some customers find him irresistible.
Other manufacturers are now building robots just like Noodlebot. Foxxconn, the same company that assembles iPhones and iPads, got in the noodle-cutting game early in 2015, according to Wall Street Journal. Foxxconn has only built three noodle-cutting robots so far and it doesn’t seem to have as much flair as Noodlebot.
Watch Noodlebot in action below.
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