Pancakes are both the simplest and most difficult breakfast food to make. Just about anyone can slop batter onto a hot griddle, but cooking to the right level of fluffiness and crispiness requires levels of patience and skill that few have first thing in the morning. A new robot called Pancake Bot may be the solution to that.
Inventor Miguel Valenzuela—a civil engineer by trade—showed off his creation at the Maker Faire this past weekend (Sept. 27-28) in Queens, New York. Valenzuela told Quartz that the machine came about after his daughter saw him reading an article about someone who created a machine out of LEGOs that could imprint designs onto pancakes.
He said his daughter turned to his other daughter and said, “Daddy’s going to build us a pancake maker out of LEGOs!” So he did.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t a simple task. It took Valenzuela 13 attempts and many months to build a working LEGO machine that could be programmed to spit out pancakes and cook them on a griddle. Once he got it working, he put the method on the web for anyone to replicate.
Then Valenzuela decided to build a machine that he could sell. The end result was PancakeBot: a squeeze bottle attached to a robot arm that can print any shape pancake you’d like, in a matter of seconds.
Valenzuela said the PancakeBot doesn’t need a computer or app to work—just add batter to the bottle, and choose from one of the preloaded designs and let it go. A removable SD card allows users to add custom pancake designs using 3D modeling software on their home computers.
At Maker Faire, PancakeBot was diligently making pancakes in the shape of concentric circles (like an edible Spirograph), and a few famous cartoon characters, like the Simpsons. Valenzuela said he’s also tried eggs, tomato paste and cake batter in the squeeze tube, with varying degrees of success.
Valenzuela said he plans to build up an online repository for user-submitted designs once the company has fulfilled the pre-orders from its Kickstarter campaign. He added that the company is still working out pricing for the general public, but believes the price will be between $250 and $300.