A Chinese robot which can cut noodles faster, cheaper and better than human workers is a hit with restaurant owners and customers.
Beijing restaurateur Cui Runguan invented Chef Cui for Asian noodle bars, which have snapped up more than 3000 robots. And despite the hypnotic flashing yellow eyes and somewhat fierce expression, Chef Cui is no kitchen nightmare.
The US$1500 ($1887) motorised chef is cheaper than the roughly US$4700 a year paid to human noodle slicers.
Noodle customer Kan Dayuan likes the result.
"The noodles made by the robot are as good as the man-made ones. They taste good and it looks great."
Chef Cui has a motorised arm which copies the movement of windshield wipers to cut noodles quicker than most human workers could.
As Runguan says, the trend is for robots to take on more tasks that humans do, and Asian noodle bars are no exception.
Despite the prospect of fewer jobs, the task is exhausting and "young people don't want to work slicing noodles", he says.
"It's a great machine," Chef Cui owner Liu Maohu says, "and it is better than a man."
- © Fairfax NZ News