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cooking with contraptions
September 27, 2009 2:47 PM   Subscribe

Top 10 Food-Based Rube Goldberg Machines (videos) If this type of food preparation is too elaborate for your tastes, the Super-Fast Pancake-Sorting Flexpicker Robot might be more to your style.
posted by madamjujujive (31 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Alright, just learned something about myself: I laugh uncontrollably every time I hear a haughty British narrator say "pancakes."
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:54 PM on September 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Pancake robots are also currently being deployed to stack pancakes in environments too hazardous for human pancake pickers, such as radioactive volcanoes and the bottom of the Marianas trench.
posted by rusty at 2:55 PM on September 27, 2009 [4 favorites]


Previously: Automatic Pancakes.
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:20 PM on September 27, 2009


so does the end of that conveyor belt in the pancake vid empty out into a huge cafeteria for lumberjacks?
posted by fuzzypantalones at 3:21 PM on September 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


"Automatic Pancakes" is a good band and/or sockpuppet name.
posted by rokusan at 3:32 PM on September 27, 2009


"Reduced labour costs" is a lovely euphemism.
posted by Decimask at 3:38 PM on September 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


We've come a long way since Homer Price...
posted by cosmac at 3:57 PM on September 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yeah, but can the flexpicker stack these?
posted by The White Hat at 3:59 PM on September 27, 2009


Man, the flexpicker thing gives me the willies. It looks too much like an insect.
posted by empath at 4:06 PM on September 27, 2009


I'm picturing the worst folktale ever, of Slippy MacIntosh, delivered from the womb in the dead of a Manitoba winter with a spatula because his family was too poor to afford forceps. He had full dark beard, a jolly old belly that shook with his easy laugh, always smelled like maple syrup and could stack pancakes faster than anyone in Christendom, but then came the Flexpicker, that soulless doodad as speedy as a bullet and as cold as Slippy's hometown in February. The world was changing, they all told slippy, but he wouldn't stop working, stacking those industrially manufactured flapjacks with the even greater gusto of a man with nothing to lose and everything to prove.

Of course that fateful day came when Honeytop Specialty Foods told ol' Slippy they were gonna have to let him go, but going easily wasn't a trait he'd ever picked up, so he proposed a challenge: Him vs. the Plexpicker. Over the next twenty-four hours they sorted and stacked as hushed crowds formed from the ranks of the unemployment lines to see him prove it could be done. At four hundred stacks a minute, the Flexpicker was able to stack up 576,000 tasty conveyor-belt confections before Slippy, exhausted from the competition and getting up there in years, collapsed into the batter, dead.

Dead, but not defeated, for once the mourning was finished and the counting was done, Slippy's tally came up to Five hundred, seventy-six thousand... and one.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:19 PM on September 27, 2009 [7 favorites]


Then he fell in the batter and he died, Lord, Lord
He fell in the batter and he died.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:34 PM on September 27, 2009 [5 favorites]


Dang, felliniblank, beat me to it!
posted by drhydro at 4:40 PM on September 27, 2009


Those are some interesting Rube Goldberg variations.
posted by uosuaq at 4:41 PM on September 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm kind of ashamed to admit that I enjoy eating pancakes made from this.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:42 PM on September 27, 2009


How long until we have machines to stack pancakes in our own homes?

How long until we have machines to stack pancakes in our own homes that we can take long exposure photographs of while they toil and then admire the pretty patterns that result?

How long until we have machines to stack pancakes in our own homes that declare war on the roombas and decide to stack them instead? Can we eat roombas with syrup? Can pancakes hoover the carpet?

So many questions unanswered, need more information.


(Also, in Tescoland England, we call "Rube Goldberg" machines "Heath Robinson" contraptions, and we call "pancakes" "supper". Your morning batter should be in the shape of a crumpet, Deut 4:15.)
posted by Sova at 4:43 PM on September 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Does the phrase "enabled us to absorb a number of overheads" in corp-speak mean that the end consumer sees a reduction in price or does it simply mean they make more profit per product sold?
posted by Rhomboid at 5:10 PM on September 27, 2009


Is it wrong to want a Flexpicker just to clean up my the kids' Lego mess?
posted by Hardcore Poser at 5:59 PM on September 27, 2009


Oh sweet Jebus, thanks for the Homer Price reminder! I had completely forgotten that story and I'm sure my kids will love it!
posted by DU at 7:12 PM on September 27, 2009


We've come a long way since Homer Price...

Punch, brothers, punch with care,
Punch in the presence of the pass-en-jare!

"Automatic Pancakes" is a good band and/or sockpuppet name.

Almost as good as "flapjax at midnight".
posted by Herodios at 7:20 PM on September 27, 2009


All that careful engineering, implementation, videography, and accompanying wonderment...

...TOTALLY derailed when the voiceover refers to the Flexpicker as "the Final Solution".
posted by unregistered_animagus at 7:41 PM on September 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


I find it hard to believe that a well engineered mechanical system wouldn't be more cost effective and longer lasting than this multimillion dollar collection of microcontrollers and servo motors that can only be adjusted and serviced by a factory technician flown in from halfway around the world.
posted by digsrus at 8:00 PM on September 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


...TOTALLY derailed when the voiceover refers to the Flexpicker as "the Final Solution".

Then he immediately begins quoting the "Director" praising the system's "reduced turnaround time" and "improved productivity". Eeep.

But by God, I could watch that robot stack pancakes, arrange sausages, and box muffins all day long.
posted by neckro23 at 8:12 PM on September 27, 2009


Does the phrase "enabled us to absorb a number of overheads" in corp-speak mean that the end consumer sees a reduction in price or does it simply mean they make more profit per product sold?

The latter. Prices don't ever actually go down as a result of 'cost savings.'

Also, that Flexpicker is one of the coolest goddamn things I have ever seen. Want.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:23 PM on September 27, 2009


box muffins
teehee

posted by flaterik at 9:21 PM on September 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Why would anyone ever buy a pre-made pancake? They're easy to make, and if you are too lazy to do that, then the chances are good that a restaurant near you is serving them right now. Cool machine, though.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:45 PM on September 27, 2009


Bah. The only true food machine was developed by Caractacus Pott. I couldn't find a good clip of it (it starts about 1:30 into this clip), but really you should just watch the movie in its entirety. It's got Benny Hill without Yakety Sax!

...and that child catcher really freaked me out when I first saw the movie.
posted by foonly at 2:58 AM on September 28, 2009


I'm surprised that the task of moving pancakes from one conveyor belt to another is apparently so difficult that either humans or high-tech machine vision systems are required. Why aren't the pancake-cooking machines just turning out more orderly streams of pancakes?
posted by Western Infidels at 8:10 AM on September 28, 2009


Pancakes should never be mass-produced. They just don't belong on conveyor belts. =(
posted by Eideteker at 9:06 PM on September 28, 2009


Tonight on Plato's Beans, we discuss whether domino cascades are Rube Goldberg devices. I contend that they are not. My opponent is a large North American Black Bear. And now, we wrestle.
posted by Eideteker at 9:16 PM on September 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Agreed, Eideteker, and additionally I posit that a motorized machine which moves cans in an excessively complicated, but not self-motion, is not a Rube Goldberg device either, though it may well be very cool.

I would also like to point out that HOLY SHIT A BEAR!
posted by Navelgazer at 4:39 PM on September 29, 2009


But by God, I could watch that robot stack pancakes, arrange sausages, and box muffins all day long.

That's what she said?
posted by empath at 10:57 PM on September 29, 2009


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