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Robot Pancake Sorting Machine Operates With Deadly Speed, Accuracy

For today's weird video enjoyment, I bring you this bizarre promotional video for ABB Robotics and Honeytop Pancakes, in which it is revealed that ABB's robots can sort and stack pancakes at superhuman speed. The repeated shots of the robot's huge "FlexPicker™ Arms" grabbing and stacking pancakes remind me distinctly of The Matrix, in which gigantic spiderlike robots lumbered over fields of humans...occasionally pulling the plug on one, or picking one out of its pod. Of course, these pancake robots are controlled by ABB's "PickMaster™ 3.2 Software" (I'm not kidding), which appears to run on a PC nearby. What could possibly go wrong?

Stick with the video for at least a minute and a half; that's when the real weirdness begins and you actually get to see the PickMaster™ arms in action. Oh, and it should be noted that the system is capable of stacking "in excess of 400 pancakes per minute," a statistical measurement which one blogger dubbed "ppm."

Also, not to make this even weirder than it already is, the phrase "the final solution" is in fact used at about the 2:30 mark in the video. (But it is in reference to the robotic system as a business venture, not, you know, the Final Solution.)

(Via Eat Me Daily and Kottke.org.)

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iStock
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Weather Watch
Make Alexa's Daily Weather Forecasts More Accurate
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iStock

Will you need an umbrella this afternoon? Will a fine day grow sweltering and require flip-flops? Your Amazon Echo Daily Briefing can answer these questions. But, as Taylor Martin at CNET explains, it can answer them better if you make a few quick changes to your account.

Meteorologists are scientists, not fortune-tellers. They analyze the data they have to assemble their best estimate of weather conditions over the next few hours, days, and weeks. These estimates can vary widely depending on the sources of the data and the variables included in the calculation. Some forecasters are just plain better than others.

One of the most popular is Dark Sky, an app that offers hyperlocal weather reports centered on a user’s exact whereabouts. Dark Sky uses its own proprietary weather service, which has been adapted for Alexa by a third-party function called Big Sky.

As CNET explains, this is how you add Big Sky capability to your Echo:

- Go to alexa.amazon.com or tap to open the Alexa app on iOS or Android.

- In the left menu, go to Skills.

- Search for Big Sky.

- Tap or click Enable Skill.

- To create a Big Sky account, select Create One.

- Select a username and password.

- Log in and enter your address.

- Decide how detailed you want your forecast to be.

- Select Fahrenheit or Celsius and click Submit.

To get your forecast for the day, head to your Echo and say "Alexa, open Big Sky." You can also ask Alexa to consult the app with specific questions. "Alexa, ask Big Sky: will it rain in the next six hours?" "Alexa, what’s the high temperature today?"

From there, you'll have to make your fashion and accessory choices yourself.

[h/t CNET]

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ZMP
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Food
Japan Is Getting Sushi Delivery Robots
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ZMP

Japan, home of robots that feed you tomatoes, check you into your hotel, and act as surrogate children, is about to get a sushi delivery bot.

In August, the Japanese robotics company ZMP and the food delivery service Ride On Express are due to launch CarriRo Delivery, an autonomous sushi delivery robot, according to Fast Company and RocketNews24.

The sushi will come from Ride On Express’s sushi restaurant Gin no Sara and be delivered in the red robot, which looks like a cross between an ice cream cart and one of London’s signature red buses. The CarriRo robot can deliver sushi for up to 60 people and is designed to navigate the city on its own with the help of cameras and sensors.

ZMP has aspirations for the robots outside the culinary sphere. The promotional video shows the robots navigating sidewalks to pick up prescription drugs, household supplies, and more, bringing them to people who order from an app on their phone. It has headlights, so it appears you can order at all hours of the day. The robot can run for up to eight hours at a time and can be controlled remotely.

For now, though, the laws governing autonomous robots roving around public sidewalks aren’t super clear, so the CarriRo’s sushi service is debuting on private land only. That means futuristic sushi parties will be confined to office parks and other areas where it won’t run afoul of the law. (It has a top speed of less than 4 mph, so it can’t exactly run away from the police.)

For select office workers, though, this will bring the convenience of conveyor belt sushi to a whole new level.

[h/t Fast Company]

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