The future of fast food? Robots. When it comes to truly efficient service, there’s always the possibility that technology allow restaurants to cut out the human middleman altogether, and let the machines do their jobs. And now, thanks to a group of engineering students at MIT, we might be getting fast food faster than ever.
The concept takes form in Spyce Kitchen, a completely autonomous mini-restaurant that boasts a refrigerator, dishwasher, stovetop, and yes, a robotic chef. Using fresh ingredients, the machine master can serve up an entree in less than five minutes.
Spyce Kitchen is currently in operation at the Cambridge institution, and takes up just 20 square feet of space. To place an order, students can either download a companion app or use the “restaurant’s” touchscreen, whereupon they’ll choose from the five items currently listed on the menu. And just because these are college kids doesn’t mean they can’t put together a pretty delectable lineup — the menu offers shrimp andouille jambalaya, chicken-bacon sweet potato hash, winter veggie mac and cheese, chili-lime beef with sesame rice, and chickpea coconut curry on couscous.
And if you’re not totally into the descriptions listed, you can make adjustments to the ingredients, the sauces, and even the serving sizes. And once you’re satisfied with your order, just grab a bowl and place it under one of the rotating, automated cooking pots that serves up your meal. The pot then makes its way down a conveyor belt to a sink, where it cleans itself, allowing the whole process to start over again.
“Our vision is to transform the meaning of fast food,” the team, comprised of Kale Rogers, Michael Farid, Braden Knight, and Luke Schlueter, told Tech Insider in an email.
Of course, robots in the food industry haven’t always met with success — after all, a restaurant in China did recently get rid of its entire machine staff after realizing they simply couldn’t serve its customers’ needs. But just maybe, this robot kitchen is the McDonald’s alternative we’ve been searching for.