Suzumo, which claims to have developed the world’s first sushi robot in 1981, has a countertop machine that cranks out oblong rice mounds at up to 3,600 mph (mounds per hour), according to the company website. The machine features a top-mounted rice bucket from which the bot grabs a chunk of rice. It sculpts it into a neatly shaped pellet that’s then placed on a revolving platform. Eventually, a piece of fish will rest atop the rice, and the nigiri sushi will be ready to go.
Suzumo says another one of its bots can make 300 medium-sized sushi rolls an hour. (Productivity goes up as size goes down.) The machine takes rice from its rice bowl and presses it into flat sheets. A piece of seaweed, fish and veggies are placed on top. Then, at the press of a button, the platform, which looks like a white conveyer belt in some models, envelops the open sushi and rolls it up. Presto! The maki roll is almost ready. Now, the slicer bot just needs to cut it up.
With its army of sushibots, Suzumo aims ”to precisely recreate the handmade taste and technique used by an experienced sushi chef,” according to a YouTube video. But it’s hard to imagine high-end sushi restaurants lowering themselves to the depths of what is essentially McSushi. The mechanical sushi assistants are clearly geared more toward all-you-can-eat joints, high-volume supermarkets, sporting venues, hospitals or schools.