Eye on AI - February 11th, 2022
Welcome to Aigora's "Eye on AI" series, where we round up exciting news at the intersection of consumer science and artificial intelligence!
This week we’ll be focusing on autonomous food and beverage as we look into two groundbreaking new developments that could soon upend the supply chains and hiring traditions of their respective industries.
Molecular Printer Allows Users to Make Almost Any Drink at Home
One thing most beverages have in common, regardless of their flavoring, is that they’re made up of roughly 99% H20. It’s just that small 1% that varies from drink to drink, flavor to flavor. Now, thanks to molecular drink printing company Cana, that 1% of taste can now be altered at home through liquid printing to match virtually any drink we desire on-demand.
“... we can print an infinite number of beverages from a few core flavor compounds,” says Cana founder Dave Friedberg. “We know we can do this across many existing beverage categories — juice, soda, hard seltzer, cocktails, wine, tea, coffee, and beer. Consumer taste testing panels score our printed beverages at the same or better taste levels as commercially available alternatives.”
Tap water is the main material needed for the toaster-size Cana devices to produce your beverage of choice. The rest can be sourced almost entirely locally without older supply chain issues. That means less deliveries, less supply chain issues, less carbon use and operation costs, and much less plastic.
“... the machine can print enough drinks to save a family from throwing about a hundred containers a month into the recycle or trash bin,” continues Wolf.
The new Cana product has only just been released, with pricing still being kept secret. If the device proves to be as effective as advertised, the entire beverage industry could be upended overnight.
First Fully Autonomous ‘Restaurant-In-A-Box’ Pizza Hut Opens in Israel
In related news, it was also reported by The Spoon this week that Pizza Hut just opened its first fully-autonomous restaurant in Israel. For years we’ve been suggesting that fast food’s obsession with AI likely meant brands were angling for fully autonomous locations. Now for Pizza Hut, that dream has become a reality.
“The restaurant is fully self-contained, doing everything from dropping toppings to baking and boxing,” writes The Spoon contributor Michael Wolf. “About the only thing it doesn’t do is make the dough, but according to Hyper its pizza restaurant can hold up to 240 types of dough in different sizes.”
Called a restaurant-in-a-box model, the new Pizza Hut location was made possible by Hyper-Robotics, a food-based robotics company that created the concept with the hope of being utilized by other fast-food chains. Pizza Hut doesn’t own the proprietary technology, but in a way, it kind of does: Hyper-Robotics’ founder, Udi Shamai, happens to be the president of Pizza Hut Israel and himself owns 90 franchises. It’s for that reason and others I don’t expect the restaurant-in-a-box concept to take off quite like Nuro’s self-driving vehicles.
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