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Air Force Base in California Welcomes Alfred, the U.S. Army’s First Kitchen Chef Robot

We’ve seen some scary-looking robots this year, from armed military robot dogs to the most realistic humanoid machines. But there are plenty of cute ones, too, one of them being Alfred, the first robot for automated food preparation to start operating within an Air Force unit.
The Travis Air Force Base in California welcomed Alfred, the first robot for food preparation 7 photos
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The global debate about the risks of potential “killer robots” is ongoing, but armed forces are researching and deploying a variety of less-threatening robots, such as ones used for carrying supplies or detecting biological threats in caves.

Perhaps the cutest one to join the U.S. Army is Alfred. It may not be a kitchen chef just yet, but it performs enough food-related tasks to claim this flattering title.

The Defense Logistics Agency selected Dexai Robotics, a Boston-based startup, to provide a robotic arm for food preparation. Alfred is able to see kitchen utensils and their position with the help of barcodes and uses them to prepare food at the Monarch Dining Facility at the Travis Air Force Base in California.

Since this is the first robot of its kind to operate not only at this base but in the entire Army, the pioneering robot’s result here will be used as proof of concept.

The main advantage that Alfred brings is increasing productivity by taking the burden of certain tasks off local troops. Airmen have a wide array of activities, and having more time to focus on them is always a plus. Even in the kitchen, the automated food preparation allows them to go handle more difficult tasks, such as grilling or preparing flight kitchen meals.

Another major advantage in the global health context is increased hygiene. Thanks to the touchless used interface, this food preparation robot helps lower the risk of germ transmission. Yuki Yamada, Dexai Robotics Chef de Technologie, said that this unique robot can be of great help in different types of crowded dining facilities.

If Alfred’s work at the Travis Air Force Base proves successful, ten more robots will be installed in other military units as well. Also, its work here will be used to develop the product even further.

press release
 
 
 
 
 

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