Restaurants owners, unsurprisingly, are seeing a shortage of dishwashers. Not many want to work the typically long hours for low pay that the job entails.
Dishcraft has an idea that, they think, can fill the gap. It involves a robotic dishwasher — and no, that's not the same as your everyday dishwasher.
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Dishcraft's recently revealed robotic dishwasher is built to clean large numbers of plates in commercial settings. Firstly, customers stack their plates on a specialized cart. A staff member then wheels a cart into the robot. That's where the human part ends.
The machine then takes over. It flips the plates upside-down and sprays them with cold water while brushing the surface clean in mere seconds.
An AI-guided camera then scans the dishes to see if they are clean enough, or if they need another brush.
A flexible robot service
Dishcraft provides two different types of services. Companies can lease out the robot and have it installed into their kitchen, but they can also send plates to Dishcraft machine for them to be cleaned off-site. The second may be an easier solution for one-off catering events.
Pricing isn't available yet, though the Dishcraft robot is probably not going to be affordable, or practical, for normal households.
Worries about automation
Dishcraft company chief Linda Pouliot told Engadget that staff shortages are "only getting worse."
However, there is an increasing worry that automation is taking jobs and lowering wages in sectors where it's gaining a foothold.
And it seems no one is completely off the hook. Dishwashing might require little creative thinking and might seem like an obvious choice, along with car manufacturing, for automation. However, even creative work is seeing AI stake a claim as lucrative AI artwork is already a reality.
Unfortunately, for people who rely on dishwashing to make a living, Dishcraft might lower wages. For restaurant owners who are seeing a shortage of workers, it might just be a godsend.