Robots are starting to take over the service industry, in many ways completing tasks more efficiently and economically than their human counterparts. While they won't be taking jobs from human cooks and servers — at least in the U.S. — quite yet, these robot waiters, bartenders, and chefs might have something to do with the future of restaurants and dining.
Below, a list of the coolest food-centric robots in the world today:
Motoman SDA5 — This culinarily savvy robot, which can mimic human movement in order to complete a variety of kitchen tasks, was one of the newest creations on display at a food industry expo in Japan. From mixing to chopping, its skills prompted one woman to propose marriage to the useful culinary companion.
Robot Chef Cooks 2,000 Different Meals — This fancy machine, unveiled in April at a trade fair in Germany, has the capabilities to cook up to 2,000 meals. In order to teach the Moley Robotics creation new recipes, a 3D camera captures the movements of a human chef as he or she prepares a meal before uploading the video to the robot's computer. For the small price tag of $15,000, this puppy can be yours in 2017.
Cocktail-Making Robot 'Monsieur' — After raising $2 million in funding last year, the artificial bartender is now on sale for personal and commercial use, and it'll only set you back $3,999. To work your new favorite drinking buddy, program a drink into the interface, and sit back as it "mixes the drink in proper proportion and squirts it into a glass."
Suzumo Sushi Chef — Since eating sushi is much easier than actually making it, this sushi pro comes with a hefty price tag of $16,000, but guarantees a perfectly composed and cut roll every time. Also on display at the same Japanese food expo as Motoman, it has already sold more than 1,500 units to foreign consumers.
Noodle-Making Robot — Invented by Chinese restaurateur Cui Runguan in 2012, it was originally on sale for $2,000, although some reports indicate it was down to $1,600 less than a year later. The army of robots can slice noodles from a firm piece of dough and toss them into boiling water.
Makr Shakr Bartender — Slightly different from the 'Monsieur' mentioned above, this pimped out robotic bartender consists of three arms that imitate the movements of a human bartender. Created with the assistance of Bacardi and Coca-Cola and unveiled in the spring of 2013, it can do everything from slicing garnishes to shaking martinis. If you want to see the Makr Shakr in action, book a cruise on Royal Caribbean's Quantam of the Seas and stop by its Bionic Bar to see the bartending machine in action.
Robot-Run Restaurant — A Chinese restaurant is upping the ante by creating an entire fleet of robots to do everything from stir-frying to serving as waiters. The colorful machines can be currently found at a traditional restaurant in the Heilongjiang Province of China.
Beer-Tasting Beer Tongue — Created by Maria Luz Rodriguez-Mendez, a chemistry professor at the University of Valladolid in Spain, this electronic tongue can distinguish between four different types of lager. Its sensors allow the robotic appendage to identify the beer by "tasting" electrochemical compounds inside the beer, thus correctly identifying it.
PancakeBot — If you thought that Mickey Mouse-shaped pancake you made this morning was impressive, you're about to get shown up by this batter-dispensing robot created by Miguel Valenzuela. The newest version, displayed in May of 2014 at the Bay Area Market Faire uses printer technology to make a variety of shapes, including a pretty spot-on replica of the Eiffel Tower.
Barobot — The robotic revolution has no shortage of mechanical bartenders (perhaps an inclination of how much we love our cocktails) and this one comes to us from the U.K. This version may not be as sleek as the Monsieur or as impressive as the Makr Shakr, but it can hold up to twelve bottles at a time using sensors to pour the cocktail of your choice.
Oreo-Making Robot — By far the tiniest gadget on our list, this little guy may not be the fastest, or most versatile, robot in town, but it certainly gets brownie points for cuteness. Debuted by tech firm Maya Design at SXSW in 2014, it is programmed to fill custom-created oreo cookies with a variety of flavored cream.