It has to be one of the most amazing 'transformer' robots we have ever seen. Most evenings just before 10:00 pm, when the local people are getting hungry for some noodles or need a meal to balance out some of their drinking, a small truck pulls into an open space just in front of a down town department store.
The driver gets out, moves a few bicycles out of the way, positions the truck in his favorite spot, then begins the truck's transformation.
In less than 10 minutes, magic happens. Awnings automatically extend, table tops fold down from the truck body, gas burners fire up, and a diskwasher robot postions noodle bowls at the ready.
The driver dons his chef apron and hat, steps into the center of his resturant/truck, and offers a big, happy, smile as his first customer of the evening sits down and orders his meal.
The magical chef and robot builder is none other than Yamaguchi-san, creator of Onimaru - one of the top ROBO-ONE humanoid robots in competition today.
Early in his career, Yamaguchi was a sushi-chef, and really enjoyed the pleasure that his customers got from eating really good food. He wanted to continue as a chef, and have his own place, but didn't want to deal with the large financial investment and responsibilities of managing employees.
With no professional technical education or college, he studied electronics, automation, mechanics, design, and any other subject he needed to create his dream.
Today his restaurant is fully automated. He stands in the center with the noodle bowls washed, cleaned, dried, and organized by a robot working right behind him. Drinking glasses have their own robot mechanism, including one that instantly fills them to just the right level.
With seats for close to a dozen customers at a time, Yamaguchi has no problem keeping up with his customers orders, and is constantly chatting happily with them.
Sometime between 3 to 4 am, the flow of customers starts to wind down to the point that it's time to reverse the transformation. Amazingly, because his robots take care of all most everything, there are no glasses or bowls to wash. Those tasks are already taken care of. In just a few minutes Yamaguchi's restaurant has transformed itself back into a truck. He hops in and drives back home, content with the memory of all the happy customers he and his robots have served this night.
Automated robots take care of the bowls and glasses
Counters to serve up to a dozen customers fold out from the sides of the truck.
The restaurant is well known in the community, and Yamaguchi frequently puts on demonstrations of some of his humanoid (and dinosaur) creations at the local museum.
Absolutely delicious udon noodles.