The future of spaghetti is here.

For years I have strived to make the perfect bowl of spaghetti and always failed. Whether its getting distracted by a Garfield comic and letting the noodles boil too long, or using blueberry jam because I forgot to buy any tomatoes, something always seems to go wrong.

Needless to say, my love of high-brow humor and forgetfulness are what make me human, and therein lies the problem. What’s needed for perfect spaghetti is the cold relentless attention to detail that only a robot can provide, and now, thanks to restaurateur Pronto Corporation and startup TechMagic, we have it!

P-Robo is said to be a “world-first” in pasta-cooking robotics. Robot kitchens have been done before, but Pronto and TechMagic agreed that the novelty of robots alone were not enough and set out on a four-year mission to develop a robot that can match the food preparation abilities of a skilled cook from start to finish.

After boiling the pre-cooked, frozen noodles, one of P-Robo’s mechanical arms dumps them into a specially designed frying pan along with the appropriate seasonings. The deep-bowl-like pan is then placed in a special high-output induction heater and spun around to evenly distribute the sauces and prevent their quality from degrading due to too overexposure to the heat. Finally, the cooked pasta is delivered to a human staff member who puts it on a plate and adds the finishing touches.

The entire process takes from 45 to 75 seconds depending on how may orders it’s handling at the same time, because it’s faster when busy. Moreover, P-Robo uses AI image processing to check that the ingredients are correct and mixing evenly. It also takes up less kitchen space and does its own dishes, reducing the need for employees of the flesh by about two in the process.

It has already won over many online, who eagerly anticipate the arrival of this technological marvel. However, not everyone was completely sold on it.

“This is fantastic.”
“I’m totally going there! I hope I can see in the kitchen.”
“I’m more excited about 45-second pasta than the robot.”
“If it can reduce the price and serve a reliable product, then I like it!”
“This seems very Japanese.”
“I think ‘heart’ is absolutely needed for cooking.”
“Is this really a ‘robot’ though? It looks more like an automated machine.”

That’s a fair question, but I’m inclined to say it’s a robot in the sense that it does pretty much everything from adding ingredients to moving everything where it needs to be autonomously. The constant whirring noises it makes are also very roboty.

Perhaps seeing it first-hand is the best way to judge and starting 30 June you can do just that when E Vino Spaghetti opens its doors for the first time in Chiyoda, Tokyo. Several types are available such as carbonara and squid ink, all in the neighborhood of 1,000 yen (US$7.39) a dish.

If their brand of convenience and quality proves successful, they hope to have 50 locations around Japan in the next five years. There is also talk of selling the technology to other restaurants as well, so even if you can’t make it out to E Vino Spaghetti, P-Robo may come to your area soon enough.

Restaurant information
E Vino Spaghetti / エビノスパゲッティ
Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Marunouchi 2-4-1 Marunouchi Building B1
東京都千代田区丸の内2-4-1 丸の内ビルディングB1F
Hours: 11 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.

Source: PR Times, NHK News Web, Impress Watch, Hachima Kiko
Images: PR Times
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