NYU Student Creates Burrito-Making Robot

By Andrea Swalec on June 20, 2012 6:44am 

MANHATTAN — Hungry for the future? 

A graduate student at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts has built a burrito-building robot called "Burritob0t" that uses large syringes to inject beans, salsa, guacamole, and other ingredents onto tortillas, layer by layer.

"The only thing I enjoy more than making cool stuff is making a good burrito," interaction designer and Brooklyn resident Marko Manriquez said in a video about his robot. "The burrito lends itself perfectly as a hybrid of both cuisine and technology." 

Burritob0t assembles the Tex-Mex favorite using 3D printing techniques, turning meticulously written computer code into a meal, Manriquez's website for the project explained.

The drawback of the technique is that ingredients need to have a uniform, paste-like consistency, making Burritob0t's culinary creations more food-for-thought than gourmet treat. 

"We are in uncharted culinary territory," Manriquez admitted on the website for the robot. "For now, [Burritob0t's burritos are] somewhere on the spectrum between Taco Bell and SoCal taco truck." 

Manriquez is also working on a web and mobile application that will let burrito-lovers customize the amounts of mild and hot salsas, crema, pico de galla and guacamole they want. 

More testing of Burritob0t — which isn't available to the public yet — will test the limits of food science, Manriquez said in the video.

"There's no reason we can't have our burritos downloaded, printed and into our bellies," he said. "We have the technology." 

A Kickstarter campaign is in the works to raise funds to publicly demonstrate Burritob0t and improve the taste of its burritos, Manriquez said on the site, but he admitted it's tough for a robot to match a real chef.

"Nothing replaces the human touch — apologies to my robot friends — of simple, unprocessed food, a few spices and time." 

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