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For a Cold, Heartless Robot, Sally Makes a Decent Salad


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Internal set-up of Sally the salad-making robot.

A California-based company has developed a robotic vending machine that can make and dispense salad on demand in a compostable bowl.

Credit: Noah Berger/Los Angeles Times

Chowbotics has developed a high-tech vending machine that can dispense a salad into a compostable bowl and keep ingredients at constant, food-safe temperatures.

The use of such vending machines and other contactless dining options could increase dramatically due to food safety concerns associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chowbotics founder Deepak Sekar said advances in robotics, sensors, and mobile technology allows the machine—known as Sally—to perform simple tasks, like dispensing precise amounts of food.

More than 100 of the machines, which sell for about $35,000, were sold before the pandemic shutdown, and since March, Sallys have been installed in 70 hospitals.

Chowbotics plans to release a smartphone app to enable contactless ordering, and there also is interest in refrigerated meals that Sally could assemble for customers to microwave at home.

From Los Angeles Times
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