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Robotic vending machine rides in Silicon Valley

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Robotic vending machine rides in Silicon Valley

For the vending machine, Sally made a cruel salad.

On a visit to Chowbotics“The Bay Area Headquarters in March, when it was possible to visit, I tapped my order on Sally’s touch screen. Immediately, the plastic cylinder arranged in a concentric ring rotates back and forth so that the paddle that rotates at the bottom of each container can eject romaine lettuce, cooked grains, pistachios, Parmesan shavings, and a spoonful of the right sauce into the compost bowl, finished working, he made a bell that reminded me of a Las Vegas slot machine.

Just a few months ago, Chowbotics and fellow Bay Area makers from a high-tech vending machine that sold cappuccinos, hot ramen, and croissants warmly discussed their appeal in terms of freshness and 24-hour comfort. Then COVID-19 makes dangerous food orders for workers and customers. Suddenly, the thought of machine-smoothed food seemed less new and more like a survival strategy.

Chowbotics chief executive Rick Wilmer said Sally’s demand had skyrocketed since the pandemic struck, especially in hospital cafeterias and grocery stores that had removed salad bars because of safety concerns.

“If you are an N95 mask company or a ventilator company, and you are in a business that is driven as a result of an epidemic, that’s really good luck,” he said. “I can’t call it luck. But [we have] a solution that fits the world as it is today. “

Sanath Bhat, hardware technical leader at Chowbotics, showed the company’s Sally salad vending machine.

(Noah Berger / For The Times)

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Given the enthusiasm of Silicon Valley for burger robots and pizza delivery robot robots (failed), it is inevitable that technology companies will turn their attention to vending machines, poor rescuers from bakeries and enemy dieticians. According to the National Automatic Merchandising Assn., More than 4 million vending machines are deployed throughout the United States, serving 40 million people per day. The Association estimates that vending machine manufacturers, operators and brokers contribute $ 10.1 billion to the U.S. economy. in 2017.

One of the first robot vending machines to appear in San Francisco was Cafe X, which has an articulated arm that directs the cup from the espresso maker to the customer’s window, before waving the brace with dystopian insouciance. Shortly after its debut in 2017, he joined the Hayward-based Yo-Kai Express, whose machines produce hot bowls filled with ramen, udon and pho brothy. Bake Xpress, which makes hot croissants, sandwiches and mini pizzas, first appeared in public this winter at UC Berkeley; a Texas coffee company called Briggo installed a barista robot at San Francisco International Airport in January. Even more than these machines are located in private offices, schools and factories.

Robot Cafe X releases a cappuccino at San Francisco International Airport.

Robot Cafe X releases a cappuccino at San Francisco International Airport.

(Noah Berger / For The Times)

Chowbotics founder Deepak Sekar, originally a mechanical engineer in the flash-memory industry, said that to make Sally do simple deceptive tasks such as providing the right amount of mangoes or fragile lettuce, the company took advantage of advances in robotics, sensors and mobile technology to producing machines that it sells for around $ 35,000.

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Over the past 20 years, Heidi Chico, chief executive of Wittern Group, a manufacturer of vending machines in Des Moines, has seen a number of inventors try to reinvent vending machines.

“I have seen a pizza machine, a French fry machine, a fresh fruit juice machine – believe it or not, the lobster vending machine is alive,” he said.

Chico calls the food and beverage segment of his industry “mature markets,” meaning one without much room for growth. His company still makes candy-bar-and-chips machines but is switching to devices that issue hospital scrubs and computer equipment.

“We do not consider ourselves to be vending machine manufacturers,” he said. “More than producers controlled expenses.”

Amanda Tsung, chief operating officer of Yo-Kai Express, said he also did not mention the ramen vending machine. “We call ourselves an autonomous restaurant solution,” he said, and immediately laughed, aware of turning to talking technology. Then he floated another tag: the restaurant in the box.

Yo-Kai Express ramen vending machine at the Metreon center in San Francisco.

Yo-Kai Express ramen vending machine at the Metreon center in San Francisco.

(Noah Berger / For The Times)

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Even before COVID-19 forced more than 5.9 million US restaurant employees out of work in March and April, according to Restaurant Business magazine, the California restaurant industry felt pressure from rising rental prices and minimum wages. If the bistro shifts to table service to reduce servers, will visitors be more open to restaurants in the box?

“Vending machines will not replace restaurants,” said Chris Albrecht, chief editor of Spoon, who tracks the progress of food technology. “This is meant to go to places where the restaurant is not feasible.” University dormitory. Company office. The airport whose concession was closed before the last flight departed. Albrecht even imagined the appearance of a vending machine, where customers could buy a variety of fresh food 24 hours a day.

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This isn’t enough restaurant food. Cafe X, I must say, makes Americano respectable, using beans from top-class grills. When I ordered the $ 11 tonkotsu Yo-Kai Express ramen at a shopping mall before closing, a thin plastic steaming bowl emerged from a machine containing al dente noodles and soft roast pork in thin broth no better or worse than a restaurant offer. neighbor food court. The Bake Xpress’ UC Berkeley location, currently closed, issued a $ 6 mini pizza with pale cheese and crust that hardens when I eat.

A bowl of ramen is distributed by the Yo-Kai Express vending machine at San Francisco International Airport.

A bowl of ramen is distributed by the Yo-Kai Express vending machine at San Francisco International Airport.

(Noah Berger / For The Times)

Before the closing of the pandemic, Chowbotics had sold more than 100 Sallys – some for salad chains in Southeastern countries that saw robots as “mini locations.” Given the machine’s small footprint, it also helps clients choose the best place to place the salad robot. “If you get the wrong location, you can simply roll it,” Sekar said. “And the price is 10 times cheaper than a store.”

The company found a special niche in the hospital with workers and patients 24 hours, where sales peaked after the cafeteria closed. “Unlike in the salad bar, food is contained, minimizes oxidation and contact, keeps food safer and tastier!” Ochsner Medical Center in Baton Rouge, La., Wrote on Facebook before the pandemic.

Sally, Chowbotics salad waster robot

Sally, the Chowbotics salad waster robot, has found a niche in the hospital with 24-hour workers.

(Noah Berger / For The Times)

The niche has only been developing since March: According to Chowbotics, 70 hospitals now have Sallys, quadrupling its placement in just three months. (Farmer Fresh, a Midwest company whose vending machines produce rowdy salads, has also seen business multiply in more than 100 hospital locations since COVID-19 hit.)

Sally keeps her salad ingredients at a constant temperature and food-safe below 40 degrees, which according to the Chowbotics representative has helped the health examiner receive them.

Vending machines that sell hot food take longer to get the green light regulation. Benoit Herve, chief executive of Le Bread Xpress, which “micro-bread maneuvers” cools the cake into a microwave-infrared combination oven, said that every time he put one of his machines, he had to explain it to the local health department.

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“We work very closely with them to explain what we can do, what we do, to ensure that we meet any conditions,” he said. Now that he has several machines, he says he is starting to find a certain regulatory momentum that should remove the obstacles to spread his bread machine further and wider.

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Currently, pale food safety issues are compared to COVID-19 fears. California is in the midst of easing restaurant and bar restrictions, but more than half of Americans are still worried about entering, according to a May 20 poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Many contactless food choices that appear during closure may become permanent. Reservation and payment systems such as Tock and Square introduce new ways to order food and pay without having to sign the touch screen. This month a cafe in Portland, Ore., Bought a robot coffee maker similar to Cafe X to make a basic drink. Automat dumpling cakes are scheduled to open in New York in July.

In the short term, high-tech vending machines have experienced a drastic decline in restaurant-owned sales, because many locations where they operate have been closed or inactive. (In fact, Cafe X and Briggo, two coffee machines that focus on the airport, stop returning The Times emails.)

A traveler passes by the Briggo coffee vending machine at San Francisco International Airport.

A traveler passes by the Briggo coffee vending machine at San Francisco International Airport.

(Noah Berger / For The Times)

But the atmosphere in many companies is good. “If you look at the big picture, it shows that without supervision will be the main strategic direction for future food choices,” Herve said.

The company also develops products outside the machine.

Yo-Kai Express began selling ramen cutlery through its website, offering delivery in the Bay Area and shipping to Southern California. According to Chief Executive Andy Lin, the company has been tracking the release of applications quickly that will allow users to order and pay for machine-made noodles through their mobile phones. These changes, Lin said, existed before the pandemic struck.

Chowbotics CEO Wilmer said that his company released a smartphone application in the coming weeks to enable contactless bookings. He sent inquiries from senior centers and grocery stores, and chefs and company programmers were developing refrigerated foods – barbecue bowls, breakfast vegetables – that Sally could gather customers for a microwave at home.

Just three months ago, the founders of Chowbotics saw their market niche as supplying salads in places that could not be served by the salad bar. Now the salad bar has largely disappeared, and no one knows whether or when they will return. Their disappearance vacuum was created to change the company’s path. Convenience might be the initial selling point for high-tech vending machines, but COVID-19 has presented a better one: needs.

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PRR. Banco do Fomento invites companies to offer new financial instruments – Observer

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PRR.  Banco do Fomento invites companies to offer new financial instruments – Observer

Banco Português de Fomento started a public consultation this Friday aiming to receive contributions to launch new instruments under the Recovery and Resilience Plan (PRR) which still has 475 million euros.

In a statement, the organization stressed that it intends to invite companies and all stakeholders to participate in public consultations on “future capital and quasi-capital decisions.”

According to PRR, Banco Português de Fomento (BPF) has been cast in “structuring and distribution of capital decisions and quasi-equity capital of a total of €1,425 million under the Capitalization and Business Innovation component of the PRR.

The Belarusian Popular Front still has 475 million euros to launch new programs, the organization’s press release emphasizes.

The public consultation is aimed at soliciting contributions under “the terms of two pre-structured financial instruments designed to encourage company formation and/or capitalization of businesses, primarily in the start-up phases”, “Venture Capital Program” (an instrument that assumes a fund structure of funds)” and “The Deal Co-investment Program (an instrument that takes the form of direct investment in companies, always in co-investment with private investors)”.

THE PUB • CONTINUE TO READ BELOW

“These tool proposals are aimed at facilitating market entry and growth/expansion of viable companies through the development new products/services or markets and strengthening and professionalization of personnel, including the management team,” the BNF press release further emphasizes.

The public consultation is also aimed at obtaining “other proposals for new capital and quasi-capital solutions in accordance with the terms of the aforementioned capitalization funds, which are considered relevant and necessary because they are considered unavailable at the time, or existing conditions that prevent access and use.”

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Ana Carvalho, CEO of BPF, emphasized that these public consultations “are aimed at building an open dialogue with all actors of the business ecosystem, with to improve workflows and identify market failuresand the most appropriate solutions to overcome them.”

“Although we are actively in contact with various associations and institutions, this public comment allows all interested parties to participate, especially potential beneficiaries and partners involved in these measures,” he added, quoted in a press release.

All information and technical descriptions of the two pre-structured products are available on the Banco Português de Fomento website at the link https://www.bpfomento.pt/pt/consulta-publica-sobre-novos-instrumentos-financeiros-prr/.

Suggestions or offers must be submitted online for a thorough assessment by the Belarusian Popular Front until 18:00 on December 19, this body further explained.

The mission of Banco Português de Fomento is to support the economic and social development of Portugal by creating and providing innovative, competitive and appropriate solutions to the needs and challenges of the business ecosystem, enhancing entrepreneurial potential, investment and job creation, and promoting sustainability and economic, social and territorial cohesion of the country.

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FESTin returns to distribute Portuguese-language cinema worldwide | Cinema

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FESTin returns to distribute Portuguese-language cinema worldwide |  Cinema

For the 13th edition, FESTin’s mission remains the same: “Bring cinema in Portuguese to the whole world.” So says co-director Adriana Niemeyer by phone with PÚBLICO on the eve of the start of the film festival, which starts this Friday and runs until next week, ending on Wednesday the 14th at LX Factory at 7:00 pm, in Espaço Talante, inside the bookstore Ler Devagar , with a screening of four Brazilian short films chosen by Antonio Grassi, the actor in charge of the space, followed by a toast.

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VARIOUS. Portuguese project that wears a shirt for mental health

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VARIOUS.  Portuguese project that wears a shirt for mental health

Little phrases with big meaning sometimes fit into T-shirtright now in bag da Ivory, a project that began in the year of the pandemic and has been interventionally warning about mental health issues ever since.

Francisco Soares Ganzo, the founder, first suffered a panic attack when he was in 10th grade, but ended up not paying much attention to signs that something was wrong. Then the mental health problem reappeared later, at a different stage in life and with different symptoms.

“Four years ago, I started experiencing constant anxiety, to the point that I couldn’t sleep,” says 25-year-old Francisco Versa. “Basically, I put a lot of pressure on myself from the women with whom I had relationships. It was Wednesday masculinity, competition,” he continues.

Early adulthood began with this “almost obsession to be with women” and get the best. performanceto the point where he became very anxious whenever he had sexual relations with a woman.

“The peak was when I couldn’t sleep. My brain was always on and I started taking pills to help me sleep,” says Francisco.

In 2019, he decided to see a therapist rather than a psychologist because he thought it was only “for wimps”, but it wasn’t, and Francisco later figured it out.

Today, he wants to convey the same message, and to do so, he created the Ivory project in 2020, consisting of clothes and accessories with special messages that form a bridge to the necessary incentive for those in need of help.

“When I finally worked up the courage to ask for help, I was like, ‘Wow, I wish I had started sooner. That’s why I started this project. I lacked something that would motivate me to go to therapy earlier. clothes are meant to spread information,” he says.

But Ivory goes far beyond what is written in sweatshirts and accessories.

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Help that comes in order

“Everyone you know is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”

This is one of the messages recorded in t-shirts e sweats from ivory. It’s simple and affects everyone in their own way, but the focus of the Ivory team – also with a past or present marked by mental health issues – is not the phrases on the T-shirts, but what follows them.

“To say that mental health is talked about a lot is a lie. What I mean? When I hear the news that companies are very concerned about mental health or that it has become fashionable with COVID-19, it is all a lie. What people say is vague. Nobody tells stories. A person who is really bad, like I was, does not need to hear that he should go to the gym or eat well. He needs to hear a story like this.” .

Ivory’s next step is to create a space for sharing testimonies through Appendixjust to address this shortcoming. Until then, the project intends to function as anxiety And further to support in the field of mental health.

“For every order we have, a person receives Email mail to make an appointment. Because our goal is to really open doors, to do something that I didn’t have, ”says Francisco. “I feel like a lot of people buy ivory because they’re in bad condition, but they don’t want to take the next step to take care of themselves.”

If encouragement is not enough, an ivory sweater will be cozy and Email mail gives you the push you need to make an appointment with one of Ivory’s psychologists. All it takes is an Instagram post or an email.

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Sweaters and bags 100% organic cotton and mobile phone cases with phrases coined by Francisco Soares Ganzo and designs created by the whole team can be ordered at website.

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