Stunning Japan Technology, The Magical Device SWITL

Japan-based Furukawa Kiko has developed a “magical” robot spatula [JP] that can scoop off semi-liquids like mayonnaise and ketchup and replace them without destroying their shape.

Manufacturer Furukawa Kikou has put the electronic appendage to work, folding meat and packing boxes with bags full of sol-gel substances, without losing the shape of either material. The size of the company is prohibiting sales of SWITL machines overseas at present, but Furukawa Kikou is happy to discuss partnerships, should someone approach it for its raw meat and ketchup moving needs. Exceedingly unappetizing video after the break.

Furukawa isn’t revealing technical details (looks like they are still trying to get a patent), but the way the SWITL does what it does is pretty impressive.

It appears to be a sort of conveyor belt contraption that works with a frictionless material — maybe Teflon or silicone? — so that the food doesn’t get stuck. We think it may be two hyrdrophobic surfaces (the scooper and the table). Hydrophobicity, in chemistry terms, is the physical property of a molecule that’s repelled from a mass of water. Hydrophobic molecules are usually non-polar, and prefer other neutral molecules and non-polar solvents. Think of oil, for example. It floats on top of water, but hydrophobic materials are often used to remove oil from water.

Alternatively, many YouTube commenters think it’s fake, and Photoshopped, as there’s a little black spot above the last “k” in “” around the 2:08 mark that is gone when the camera replaces the mess.