The Robotics Institute

RI | Seminar | September 3

Robotics Institute Seminar, September 3
Time and Place | Seminar Abstract | Speaker Biography | Speaker Appointments

Robotic Adventures in Fast Food

R. Craig Coulter

HyperActive Technologies



Time and Place

Mauldin Auditorium (NSH 1305)
Refreshments 3:15 pm
Talk 3:30 pm



What’s so interesting about flipping burgers?


Robotics and automation have practically passed by the quick-service restaurant industry despite the fact that restaurant kitchens are one of the most highly standardized, process-driven production environments in the world. As a result, the quick-service restaurant industry remains the last $100BB+ per year industry that still manufactures its products by hand.


Three former RI scientists set out to transform this industry, by applying so-called “intelligent robotics” to the fast food realm. It’s been a real adventure – and a real eye-opener into the hurdles that current robotics technologies face when attempting to become deployable across 10’s of thousands of restaurant units.


This talk focuses on the adoption of advanced robotics technologies in an industry that has seen little significant technological progress in the last decade or more – and how those adoption issues shaped the development of a new class of robotics software: the Automated Restaurant Manager.


Speaker Biography


R. Craig Coulter graduated from the Robotics Ph.D. program in 1996. A long-time student of history, he became interested in the problem and process of technology commercialization and how these might be applied to robotics technologies. Specifically, how a field of research whose future vision has been so thoroughly explored in literature and motion pictures will actually begin to form as an industry – and how technical agenda can best align with market forces to hasten that industry’s growth.


Coulter joined the National Robotics Engineering Consortium in 1996 as a post-doc, later becoming a Project Scientist. He joined an Internet start-up in 1997, originally as a product director, later becoming CEO. After the 2001 Market Crash, he joined with other former RI scientists to found HyperActive Technologies, Inc. a new robotics start-up dedicated to bringing intelligent robotics technologies to the quick-service restaurant industry.


Speaker Appointments

For appointments, please contact Matt Mason.

The Robotics Institute is part of the School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University.