Wake Up Call

We Welcome Our (Sushi) Robot Overlords

First cupcake ATMs, now a small army of sushi making machines? If the retro "News of the World" style music doesn't get you then just wait until the 0:40 mark, whoever edited this video wasn't afraid to lay down some funky beats.

The sushi making machines featured in this video are the products of Suzumo, a company that proudly proclaims "we love rice" and that they are, "the first name in sushi robots." The most recent versions of these machines were paraded before the world at last week's World Food And Beverage Great Expo 2012, held in Tokyo. Suzumo claims to have developed the world's first sushi robot way back in 1981 and are dedicated to the dream of, "Spreading Rice Eating Culture to the World. " Their full product line is actually pretty staggering. They make everything from a consumer rice cooker to a onigiri maker that can shoot out 1800 wrapped rice balls an hour.

As you can see from the video, "sushi robot" might be a bit of a reach. A more accurate name might be "rice and seaweed exuder." The intended audience for these machines probably isn't your average consumer but rather large businesses like hospitals or convenience stores chains.

The Wired article on this subject reveals these interesting stats:

"So how do the sushi robots stack up to humans? According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Joakim Lundblad is the world's fastest sushi roller with a record of 12 rolls in two minutes. Suzumo's-rolling machine can make about 300 medium rolls per hour, or 10 rolls in two minutes. That makes Lundblad the tentative winner. Without the exact specifications of the bot- and man-made rolls -- or a head-to-head showdown -- it's impossible to make a definite conclusion."

Perhaps the next showdown between man and machine will not be over a chess board but over a sushi mat?

Perhaps machines can beat us on shear volume but, as we mentioned earlier, it is important to note that these machines are not fully automated (yet). Human intervention is required to prep the fillings and load sushi rice into the machine. Of course, how long until they develop an efficient means of coupling their Sharikka series of sushi rice makers to anyone of their sushi robots?

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