'Technology' on Serious Eats

Can a Machine Build a Better Hamburger?

For all the assembly-line efficiency that the McDonald's and Burger Kings of this world bring to the process of fast food cookery, they still have to rely on an army of minimum-wage workers to make their hamburgers. At San Francisco's Momentum Machines, they've built a robot to take over the job. We visited their lab to see what this machine looked like. More

Video: The Craziest, Most-Automated Pizza-Vending Machine We Have Ever Seen

We've seen a lot of pizza vending machines over the years here at Slice, but this one might take the cake for the fanciest, most-automated one yet. Dubbed Pizzametry, it's a spinning, pepperoni-slicing, pizza-boxing monster of a machine. Plus, it features a giant 37-inch screen that ... well ... serves you ads before it serves you pizza. (That's kinda lame.)

Pizzas cook in 3.5 minutes, and in this video it looks like it's capable of making pepperoni, plain, and white pizzas. [via Philip Given]

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Does Ordering Di Fara on Facebook Really Work?

Last week, Chicago food writer Michael Nagrant emailed me asking for some tips on scoring a Di Fara pizza in as little time as possible. "Haha, buddy," I said. "How 'bout after I finish moving this mountain?" But I told him that Di Fara had been experimenting with taking pizza orders on Facebook. "Maybe you could try that. Lemme know if it works. I'm really curious." Well, here's Mike's report. More

Di Fara Taking Pizza Orders via Facebook

On Di Fara's Facebook page, someone asks: "Can we place orders via facebook???" To which the Di Fara page improbably answers: "I do not mind at all allowing orders to be placed via facebook. the only issue is I only check in to facebook a certain time of day and if its not placed within that window of time , I may miss it ...happens often ! if you know a day or two in advance that you intend to come in, that is always helpful ..." More

Video: Robot Orders a Scone (and Tips Very Well)

The folks at Anybots must have been testing QB, their latest remote-control robot, on an empty stomach yesterday. That's when a coffeeshop patron in Mountain View, California (prime-time Silicon Valley, natch) shot this video. Scrub forward to about 1:10 for the action. He may not be the most handsome robot, but he's a big tipper (more than 100 percent). More

Using the Demy Digital Recipe Reader

When my mother-in-law emailed me a link to the Demy site and asked if I wanted one for my birthday, I couldn't say YES fast enough. I'm a lazy recipe organizer. I've got recipes squirreled away in many different formats—cookbooks, pages cut from magazines, email, docs and text files, 3-by-5 cards, etc. Makes it hard to remember what I've got when I'm looking for something different to make. Then along comes the Demy. More

'Gourmet' to Be Revived as 'Gourmet Live' App

Condé Nast, the publisher of Gourmet, is reviving the brand as an app. You can watch the promo video at live.gourmet.com, but in a nutshell, it looks like they're going to be adding to the existing archives with new content and packaging it all in a slick browsing experience. You'll be able to earn "rewards" (unlock hidden articles) and share the app's recipes, videos, and slideshows across social networks with your friends. More

Starbucks to Offer Free WiFi

According to the Wall Street Journal, Starbucks will begin offering free WiFi service in its locations beginning July 1, 2010. Previously WiFi was available in Starbucks stores under a variety of options, both free and paid. The new policy ends the ambiguity and also gives customers free access to otherwise paid content on sites such as ... the Wall Street Journal. The move comes after McDonald's started offering free WiFi in locations. Is this welcome news to you? Will you hang out longer in Starbucks now? More

Video: Cookie Monster in the IBM Muppet Show

Cookie Monster has a ravenous appetite for cookies, true, but really he'd polish off anything you put in front of him. Including this talking contraption, which Jim Henson used in an IBM training video [Update: IBM contracted Henson to make the videos for employees and a then-less-technologically-savvy public; read more about it here] back in 1967. At the time, the blue (well, greenish here) monster's name was actually Arnold the Munching Monster. Here he omnoms everything from the antenna to the generator to the krypton wavelengths. And who can forget about those scrumptious sonar metabolic transducers! More

Video: Heatswell, a Heat-Activated Insulated Coffee Cup

Heatswell by electrical engineer and designer Scott Amron is a biodegradable and recyclable coffee cup wrapped with a heat-activated band that swells to form an insulating collar, thus eliminating the need for cardboard collars and saving on waste and space. The website says the material swells up to one inch, and its texture has a "knitted-on cloth towel feel." If I got my hands on one of these I'd probably stare at it and go, "Whoaaaoooooh, shaaaapes," instead of actually using it to drink a hot beverage. More

Video: Michael Ruhlman's Updated 'Ratio' iPhone App

We mentioned Michael Ruhlman's Ratio iPhone app back in December, but it looks like Ruhlman just released an updated version, available in the iTunes Store for $4.99 (he says they're working on a Droid version). The application includes 32 critical ratios and will calculate the amount of each ingredient you need based on what you already have or want to make. It also includes basic recipes and variations and allows you to save your own recipes and notes. More

Video: Sausage Stylus for iPhone

According to this poorly Google-translated article, South Korea's CJ Corporation has seen an uptick in sales for its snack sausage in the winter months because people have figured out they can use the meat stick as a stylus for their iPhone touchscreens. IPhone users in colder climes know all too well that you have to take off your mittens to use the dang thing. No more!... More

Video: Pizza Plotter — Why?

I had higher hopes for this video of the Pizza Plotter when I saw the headline "Print Your Own Pizza" on Hack a Day. Looks like all it's doing is applying sauce — and way too much sauce at that. Call me when it prints crust, sauce, and cheese and then throws it in the oven. And then you could use the laser pizza cutter to slice it.... More

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