Mon, Oct 30, 2006 - Page 15 News List

Robot restaurant 機器人餐廳

A robot works alongside a chef at the Robot Kitchen in Hong Kong.香港機器人餐廳一台機器人在廚師旁邊工作。 (照片:法新社)

PHOTO: AFP

With a whir and a flash of lights, a robot whizzes to the restaurant table and takes a customer's order, while a second races to another table to deliver plates of steaming food.

This isn't a scene from a science fiction book. Rather, it's the daily routine at a new diner in a suburban Hong Kong shopping center.

Robot Kitchen opened in July to cash in on the city's love of gadgets, claiming to be the world's first eatery staffed by machines.

“We thought robots would be a good gimmick,” said Peter Chow, who built the robots working at the diner. At the moment the diner has just two robots — Robo Waiter 1 and 2 — neither of which looks like the human-like robots in the movies.

Robo Waiter 1 is a crudely designed box on wheels covered in shiny paper and with a light bulb to represent a head.

The computer inside can recognize voice patterns, take meal orders and send them to the cooks in the kitchen. A video camera detects objects in its way and guides the robot around them.

Robo Waiter 2 is much the same, but has a tray for carrying food.

Due to the robots' limited abilities, the restaurant has had to hire extra staff to help them out and do the actual cooking.

“They definitely aren't labor-saving devices,” said Chow.

Adding to the ambience, meals are given themed names in the menu — a ham and pineapple pizza, for instance, is called “Robot Energetic Pizza” — and the floor is strewn with toy robots that dance and sing or attack customers as they enter.

“It's like being in Star Wars,” said 10-year-old Joey Loh.(AFP)

一台機器人身上閃著光,呼地奔向餐桌幫客人點菜,此時另一台機器人衝向另一桌客人,端上熱騰騰的食物。

這可不是科幻小說的場景,而是香港郊區購物中心內,一家新餐館每天上演的戲碼。

七月開張的「機器人餐廳」,號稱是世界上第一家有機器人員工的飯館,讓香港機械迷的荷包失血。

Today's Words 今天單字

1. gimmick n.

巧妙的裝置 (qiao3 miao4 de5 zhuang1 zhi4)

例: Stores that have some kind of gimmick are more likely to attract the attention of a customer.

(設有巧妙裝置的店家較能吸引顧客的注意。)

2. crudely adv.

粗糙地 (cu1 zao4 di5)

例: I made a dress but it is very crudely put together.

(我粗略地製作了一件洋裝。)

3. device n.

設備 (she4 bei4)

例: I need a device that will help me find my keys!

(我需要能幫我找到鑰匙的裝置!)

4. ambience n.

格調 (ge2 diao4)

例: I lit candles to give our house a romantic ambience for my boyfriend's birthday.

(我在屋內點起蠟燭,製造羅曼蒂克的氣氛慶祝我男友生日。)


打造這款機器人的店內員工周彼得(音譯)表示︰「我們認為機器人應該是不錯的裝置。」目前餐館只有兩台機器人︰機器人服務生一號和二號,相貌都不若電影中酷似人類的機器人。

機器人一號是個裝有車輪的陽春盒子,其上覆蓋閃亮紙片,還有電燈泡當作頭。

內部電腦能辨認聲音模式、點餐,並傳送菜單給廚房的廚師,還有攝影機能偵測行前方的物體,引導機器人繞道而行。

機器人二號除了裝有食物托盤外,其餘大同小異。

因為機器人的能力有限,餐廳得多雇用人力來幫助機器人,並且實際掌廚。

周彼得說︰「他們絕對不是節省勞力的裝置。」

為了增加氣氛,菜單上的餐點也有和機械主題相關的菜名,例如,火腿鳳梨比薩稱為「機器人活力比薩」,而遍佈地板上的機器人玩具會唱唱跳跳吸引進門顧客的注意。

十歲大的羅喬依(音譯)說︰「這就像是星際大戰的場景一樣。」



(法新社╱翻譯︰鄭湘儀)

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