The Robot That Will Take Your Pasta To The Next Level

If your idea of a cutting-edge pasta machine is a Marcato Atlas 180, we have an upgrade for you. A new restaurant in Tokyo's Marunouchi business district features a cooking robot that integrates artificial intelligence and mechanics to turn out pasta recipes in a way your Italian grandmother never envisioned, per Food & Wine. The restaurant, E Vino Spaghetti, is staffed by a robot chef named "P-Robo," capable of everything from cooking pasta to washing up afterwards. 

P-Robo comes decked out with four pans, some for warming up frozen pasta and others for heating the sauces. Once it's revved up and ready, P-Robo is so efficient that it can cook up to 90 servings' worth of eight different pasta dishes in one hour. That's about 45 seconds for every dish from start to finish. Japan Today reporter Mai Shoji, who sampled P-Robo's handiwork, said she was surprised to find that her pasta "was done al dente and the sauce blended perfectly." She especially liked the dish with steamed chicken and shiso.

P-Robo was four years in the making

It took P-Robo's co-inventors, TechMagic and the Pronto Corporation, four years to come up with this culinary marvel. Yuji Shiraki, CEO of robotics company TechMagic, told Impress Watch that P-Robo is meant to "reproduce the taste of a skilled chef," fusing Japan's "manufacturing and food culture" together into one advancement that represents the country's specialties (via Food & Wine). 

However skilled P-Robo may be, it can't plate or add garnishes to its pasta creations. That task is left to P-Robo's non-robot coworkers, who take care of the rest of the food menu and round out E Vino Spaghetti's hybrid staff of humans and technology. This is exactly the goal: TechMagic says its inventions are meant to "create a better food industry," providing a solution to high labor costs and staffing shortages by "automating repetitive tasks." P-Robo's inventors say they are looking to have AI-driven chefs "in as many as 50 restaurants in the next five years," according to Food & Wine.

The idea of robots in the kitchen may be jaw-dropping, but it isn't exactly a novel concept. Stir-fry-preparing robot chefs were a must-see at the Beijing Winter Olympics, for example, and similar creations could soon be making their way into American fast food. Robots might make your next Jack in the Box order, as the chain is working with Miso Robotics on ways to free its employees from dispensing drinks and manning the fryer.