Nine Tasks Robots Can Do That May Surprise You

Machines can cook your dinner, fill your prescriptions, make your shoes and much, much more

SoftBank's humanoid robot "Pepper" can lead funerals. (Rodrigo Reyes Marin/AFLO/Alamy Live News)
smithsonian.com

News of a Japanese robot conducting Buddhist funerals got us thinking about how our robot-filled future is fast becoming our robot-filled present. Robots—machines that can be programmed to perform complex human tasks (or tasks that humans can’t or shouldn’t perform)—are becoming increasingly ubiquitous, and are showing up in more unexpected areas of life. They staff hotel desks, fill pharmacy prescriptions, lead workout classes and patrol for sharks. Here’s a roundup of some of the coolest and most unexpected things robots can do for us these days. 

Cook Your Dinner

The Robotic Kitchen, from Moley Robotics, consists of multijointed robotic hands fitted with multiple sensors. The robot can download a recipe via an app and reproduce it exactly. This means celebrity chefs could potentially staff multiple branches of restaurants across the world and expect the dishes to come out identically to their flagships. Moley will release a home version next year, allowing ordinary folks to have professionally prepared meals in the comfort of their own kitchens. 

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