I, for one, welcome our new robotic pancake-sorting overlords.

Greatest hits from the voiceover:

"Using robotic technology to transform the production of pancakes"

"Then operators manually check the pancakes for consistency"

"The pancakes are then fed into the robotic enclosure"

"Integrated with the PickMaster software are four gigabit ethernet cameras mounted in front of each robot, and used to locate each pancake's position on the conveyor."

"Speaking about the Final Solution... Director of Honeytop Specialty Foods Limited said... despite some apprehension... the robots have enabled us to absorb a number of overheads, thanks to reduced labor costs and improved productivity."

I think I can read between the lines to understand how this robotic "Final Solution" can "absorb overheads" and "reduce labor costs".

But here's what I don't understand: there is a company who sell pre-made stacks of pancakes? That's something that is done? Who would want this? I am disgusted.

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22 Responses:

  1. vomitrocity says:

    Etc etc etc...

    • jwz says:

      Something about ignorance and bliss.

      • vomitrocity says:

        Something else about poor and hungry. XD
        They aren't bad. =/

        • spendocrat says:

          I can't imagine how anything could be cheaper than just making pancakes from scratch.

          • editer says:

            It's about convenience, not money. I love fresh pancakes, but I invest the time and effort to actually make them maybe twice a year.

        • gryazi says:

          Knee-jerk reaction: jwz only shops at Whole Foods? Viva California.

          Srsly though, these come in all the major brands (Pillsbury, Aunt Jemima...) and, if microwaving, come out infinitely delicious if you pry the stack apart and schmear a bit of your favorite milkfat-equivalent lipid product (butter or margarine) atop each one before reassembling and applying nonionizing radiation. Takes a while to determine the right amount without being too much (though the only issue with too much is more deliciousness / higher cholesterol), but it actually causes them to come out like... good pancakes, instead of rubbery day-old-in-the-fridge reheated pancakes.

          As such, the same trick also works to some extent on day-old-in-the-fridge pancakes, if you would care to reheat them. But I think starting from frozen actually gives the buttergarine more time to soak in and distribute evenly before the liquid-phase aspects turn it to mush. YMMV.

  2. maxmin says:

    If it truly worked it wouldn't still require a human to poke every damned pancake as they went by.

  3. bitwise says:

    I would like to see the changelog for Pickmaster 3.2

    3.2 rewritten in C#!!! Now requires 2GB of DRAM.
    3.1.1 Detect and stack separately heads of human former pancake-makers that fall on the conveyor.
    3.1 now supports Windows 64-bit!!!!
    3.0.1 Added workaround for humans that try to interfere with the workings of the machine that took their jobs.
    3.0 New version, replaces 50% more humans than 2.9.
    2.9.2 Stop throwing pancakes, or I'm going to stop this conveyor.
    2.9.1 During night shift, some picker arms were injecting machine lubricant into pancakes. Detect and reflash these CPUs.

    • vomitrocity says:

      I giggled at 3.0

    • lionsphil says:
      3.3 Fix lubricant injection regression

      Gotta love the CADT model.

    • luserspaz says:

      To spoil your joke, I would expect that the computer system is purely doing the vision portion of things, as well as providing an interface to start/stop/load a new program onto the robot. The robot is likely running a program on a PLC or microcontroller.

      Also, systems like this invariably have access doors with magnetic emergency stop switches on them, such that opening the door stops the robot dead. In my experience, it takes less than a day for the line workers at a plant in Mexico to unscrew the stop switches such that the robot can run with the doors wide open.

  4. merovingian says:

    The pre-made stacks of pancakes aren't for you, human.

    They're for robots. Robots LOVE pre-packaged pancakes. They just love 'em.

  5. prog says:

    I cannot tell a tie: As recently as a year ago, I lived next to a convenience store that sold pretty good coffee. I would sometimes go there in the mornings, when I couldn't be arsed to make a cup myself. And on some of those mornings, I felt sufficently self-abusive to also buy a Jimmy Dean heat-n-serve "pancake", "egg" and "cheese" sandwich for an extra $1-ish. Yum yummmm.

  6. lindseykuper says:


  7. chuck_lw says:

    Recently a couple of my friends were horrified to discover that this had been done to cotton candy...

    Tubs! They're putting it in TUBS!

    You'd think the robots would put a stop to the entire process, and proclaim, "THIS IS AN INEFFICIENT MEANS OF SHIPPING SUGAR. NOW IMPLEMENTING MEASURES TO COMPRESS SUBSTANCE TO MORE COMPACT FORM."

  8. gths says:

    I'm not sure whether you posted this before but anyway

    at least these pancakes are "fresh" I guess.

  9. cop4cbt says:

    Soylent green is people!!!

  10. cdavies says:

    Just wait until April fools day when the easter egg the engineers built in comes on line, and the robot starts playing towers of hanoi with the pancakes.