In this special edition of its 5 Things series, Food Management highlights five recent technology-related developments affecting the foodservice world.
Here’s your list for today:
- Google parent pulls the plug on cafeteria robots
Google parent Alphabet has reportedly pulled the plug on robots that had been used to separate trash and squeegee cafeteria tables, deeming them too expensive for ordinary customers, as each is valued at tens of thousands of dollars. In 2021, Hans Peter Brøndmo, the chief robot officer and the general manager of Alphabet's Everyday Robots project, had published a blog post announcing that his team had trained more than 100 robots that were “autonomously performing a range of useful tasks around our offices...The same robot that sorts trash can now be equipped with a squeegee to wipe tables and use the same gripper that grasps cups can learn to open doors,” Brøndmo wrote.
Read more: Cost-cutting Alphabet is even laying off the robots that cleaned cafeteria
- App designed to ease long lines and wait times
An English class project led Georgia Tech student Samuel Porta to develop a product called Queues that uses sensors and software to “make lines as efficient as possible” by telling users how long lines are at a place they are thinking about going, such as a campus coffee shop or an off-campus restaurant. Its pilot program on Georgia Tech’s campus in 2020 helped create a 20% reduction in peak wait times, during which the team built up strong connections with the campus dining halls to test its up-to-the-minute tablet tool. Ultimately, Porta sees his technology rolling out at sports stadiums, restaurants, airports, and pretty much any place where people queue.
Read more: Create-X Team Scores $1.1 Million Seed Round to Change the Way We Stand in Lines
- Delivery robot has cold chain function to maintain food temp
South Korean telecom firm KT showcased a self-driving delivery robot capable of controlling temperature and humidity while delivering food products at the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. KT said in a statement that the autonomous solution is the first delivery robot that can maintain the fresh features of food items, having adopted a cold chain function that can maintain products' low temperatures.
Read more: KT showcases delivery robot capable of controlling food temperature at Barcelona's mobile device exhibition
- Kiwibot secures funding to expand its robot fleet
Robotic food delivery firm Kiwibot, which is already a presence at 27 US college campuses and 41 cities worldwide, has reportedly secured a $10 million financing partnership with asset financing group Kineo Finance, to grow its robotic fleet by helping with manufacturing and scaling needs. The company was founded in 2017 and launched its first pilot at the University of California-Berkeley campus. Today, it’s on-demand delivery service is available via apps like Grubhub and Sodexo’s Everyday.
Read more: Kiwibot Lands $10 Million to Expand Its Fleet of Restaurant Food Delivery Robots
- WMU adds biometric entry system to dining center
Western Michigan University's Valley Dining Center has introduced the MorphoWave biometric, touchless entry system that lets students, faculty and staff wave their hand across a turnstile reader instead of swiping their Bronco Card to access their meal plan or use their Dining Dollars balance. Plans call for the MorphoWave system to also be added to the dining center on the third floor of WMU’s new student center.
Read more: No card? No problem. Valley Dining Center allows entry with a wave of your hand
Bonus: AI-powered machines replace bar-code scanners in on-campus markets at Texas State
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]