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Food robotics startup Karakuri unveils automated canteen, plus $8.4M investment led by firstminute

Last week I witnessed for myself how a new kind of robot really could — as sci-fi has been telling us for many years — create and serve us food. Today, Karakuri, a food robotics startup, unveils its first automated canteen to make meals: the “DK-One” robot. It’s also revealing a $8.4 million (?6.3million) investment, led by firstminute capital, which includes funding from Hoxton Ventures, Taylor Brothers, Ocado Group and the UK’s government-backed Future Fund. It has now closed a total of ?13.5m in funding.
Karakuri’s robotic system has been initially designed to make breakfast bowls. But the technology will end up being employed in a large array of scenarios, including restaurants, canteens, buffets, hotels and supermarkets. Posibly even tending vertical farms. It’s particular strength is in being able to create extremely tailor-made combinations of food, putting ‘personalized nutrition’ within practical reach. Remember those movies where the food is tailored by a robot? That.
The post-Covid world is also highly likely to embrace this technology due to the robot’s inherent cleanliness and efficiency, compared to human-made food. That said, Karakuri is not positioned to replace humans but to augment them, taking on the boring and repetitive tasks which typically see kitchen staff have far more itinerant careers due to the sheer pressure of low-level jobs where a robot would be far more suitable.
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