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The first robot for scrubbing dishes will check each plate for dirt

The Dishcraft robot being used in a kitchen
The Dishcraft robot being used in a kitchenDishcraft

It won’t be coming to your kitchen any time soon, though (sorry).

The news: A startup called Dishcraft has launched a new robotic dish-scrubber system. Yes, it’s different from a dishwasher! It’s a huge machine that can clean 100 or so plates per go, aimed at commercial kitchens.

How it works: It’s a little bit like a car wash, but for dishes. People stack bowls and plates into a cart and wheel that into the machine. The robot picks them up and cleans and rinses them. It then uses computer vision to inspect them for any leftover food. If one is still dirty, it gets put back through the system. Once the dishes are washed, the machine stacks them into racks. You can watch it in action here.

The appeal: Dish-washing is a dirty, repetitive job, and that’s partly why turnover for staff is so high. Breakage is common, too.

Some limitations: The machine will be extremely expensive and can only handle specially made crockery with magnetic bases, which is another obvious issue. It can’t clean glassware or silverware, either.

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