In his 1912 story A Princess of Mars, early science fiction author Edgar Rice Burroughs dreamed about automated restaurants:
Kantos Kan led me to one of these gorgeous eating places where we were served entirely by mechanical apparatus. No hand touched the food from the time it entered the building in its raw state until it emerged hot and delicious upon the tables before the guests, in response to the touching of tiny buttons to indicate their desires.
(Read more about automated restaurants)
In the past week, three important steps have been taken to take automated restaurants out of the realm of culinary fiction straight into culinary fact. Let's start with ordering your food.
The Bytes restaurant in Canterbury, England is a sit-down restaurant where you order when you are ready—on touchscreen panels. Entreprenuer Heath Clay enlisted the help of engineers David Russell and Mark Bate to build the hardware and software needed. Customers place orders on touchscreen panels, and the orders are routed through the restaurant. Orders for drinks go to the bar, orders for British-flavored concoctions like baked avocado with Stilton and walnuts and smoked salmon with local new potatoes and dill go to the kitchen.
And here's one feature that should appeal to children of all ages: Free games replace the menu after the order is completed.
How about food preparation? That will be handled by AIC-AI Cookingrobot, a robotic chef announced by Fanxing Science and Technology Co. Ltd in Shenzhen, China. Cookingrobot is able to cook delicious Chinese cuisine. Sichuan, Shandong and Canton cuisines are all programmed and ready to eat. According to the developers, this robot will be ready for home use by 2007.
Finally, there is the matter of bringing food to the table. This can be handled by the new Robo Waiter 1 from Hong Kong's Cyber Robotics Technology. Robo Waiter 1 can also serve as the maitre d', leading guests to their tables.
Edgar Rice Burroughs would approve.
(This Science Fiction in the News story used with permission from Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction.)
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