Robot grillmaster feeds and delights party of German bratwurst lovers

Tired of leaning over a hot grill while your guests are having fun? Maybe you need a robot to take over grillmaster duties. The FZI Research Center at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology hooked up a robot with a couple tablets, a gas grill, and some sausages and plates, and put it to work at a party in Berlin, as reported by Quartz.

To assemble the Bratwurst Bot the team used a standard robotic arm from Universal Robots, a two-finger gripper from Schunk, and regular grill tongs. The robotic assembly was controlled by a Robot Operating System (ROS) web frontend that displayed on a consumer tablet. A second tablet displayed the robot’s “face,” topped by a chef’s hat.

Two RGB visualization cameras were used to help the Brat Bot know where to place and how to keep track of the sausages, which were cooked to order. The cameras were also used to tell when it was time to flip the little darlings so they’d be cooked but not burned.

Guests entered their orders on the tablet giving their names, how many sausages they wanted, and how they wanted them cooked. When the robot determined the sausages were done, it picked them up, placed them on a plate, and displayed the guest’s name, often vocalizing an appropriately witty remark such as “heiss und fettig,” which translates to “hot and greasy.” The robot’s face also wiggled its mustache when putting the sausages on the plates.

The Bratwurst Bot was assembled and used to demonstrate the level of development of service robotics at FZI.  More than 200 bratwurst were grilled and served autonomously by the device.  Robots such as the Bratwurst Bot may or may not be showing up soon in restaurants, but it’s reassuring, as reported by Quartz, that this one was able to complete its tasks without burning or killing anyone.

As the Bratwurst Bot says, “Lass es dir schmecken!” (“Enjoy your meal!”)

Computing

Nose cam no more. How Dell avoided a notch and fixed the XPS 13’s biggest flaw

The new Dell XPS 13 moves the webcam from the below the screen to the top, finally vanquishing the one obstacle facing thin, sleek laptop displays. We have the exclusive story on how it was done.
Cars

Big tech, bigger grille: BMW updates its 7 Series flagship for 2020

The BMW 7 Series will enter the 2020 model year with a host of updates inside, outside, and under the sheet metal. The new-look nose with a jumbo grille hides updated engines, while passengers benefit from smart tech features.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in December, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to 'Roma'

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Norsemen’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Emerging Tech

Researchers discover a way to make 3D printing 100 times faster using light

Researchers at the University of Michigan have invented a new method of 3D printing which is up to 100 times faster than conventional 3D-printing processes. Here's how it works and why it could prove a game-changer for 3D printing.
Emerging Tech

Why wait? Here are some CES 2019 gadgets you can buy right now

Companies come to CES to wow us with their cutting edge technology, but only a few products are slated to hit the market right away. Here is our list of the best CES 2019 tech you can buy right now.
Emerging Tech

Yamaha’s new app lets you tune your motorcycle with a smartphone

It used to be that if you wanted to tune your motorcycle’s engine and tweak its performance, you needed specialized tools and even more specialized knowledge. Yamaha’s new Power Tuner app changes that.
Emerging Tech

Drones: New rules could soon allow flights over people and at night

With commercial operators in mind, the U.S. government is looking to loosen restrictions on drone flights with a set of proposals that would allow the machines greater freedom to fly over populated areas and also at night.
Emerging Tech

Short film celebrates New Yorker’s amazing robot costumes

New York City resident Peter Kokis creates stunning robot costumes out of household trash. His designs are huge, heavy, and extremely intricate, and never fail to turn heads when he's out and about.
Emerging Tech

In a first for humankind, China is growing plants on the moon

Having recently landed a probe on the far side of the moon, China announced that it managed to grow the first plant on the moon, too. Here's why that matters for deep space travel.
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.
Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…
Emerging Tech

Want to know which drones are flying near you? There’s an app for that

Want to know what that mysterious drone buzzing over your head is up to? A new system developed by AirMap, Google Wing, and Kittyhawk.io could soon tell you -- via a map on your phone.
Emerging Tech

A Japanese hotel fires half its robot staff for being bad at their jobs

Japan’s oddball Henn na Hotel has fired half of its 243 robot staff. The reason? Because these labor-saving machines turned out to be causing way more problems than they were solving.