Domino’s Pizza Delivery Robot is Hot and Autonomous

Lance Ulanoff wrote . . . . .

Domino’s, thy name is innovation.

Just months after announcing a pizza delivery truck with built-in heaters, the pizza purveyor is upping the ante with the world’s first pizza delivery robot.

The company’s Australian arm announced plans to deploy a Domino Robotic Unit (DRU). Essentially an autonomous vehicle, DRU can, according to Domino’s, follow a map, navigate sidewalks, avoid obstacles and keep your pizza hot and fresh while delivering it to your front door.

It will even come bearing cold drinks.

While this sounds like an elaborate marketing stunt, a Domino’s spokesperson confirmed to Mashable that the robot is real. While this sounds like an elaborate marketing stunt, a Domino’s spokesperson confirmed to Mashable that the robot is real.

“DRU is cheeky and endearing and we are confident that one day he will become an integral part of the Domino’s family. He’s a road to the future and one that we are very excited about exploring further,” said Domino’s Group CEO and Managing Director Don Meij in a release.

Domino’s reports it has been secretly testing the four-wheeled robot vehicle on the streets of Queensland, Australia, where it acquired the necessary permissions to operate the autonomous vehicle from the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads.

“The DRU prototype is only the first step in our research and development as we continue to develop a range of innovations set to revolutionize the entire pizza-ordering experience,” said Meij in the release.

DRU was built for Domino’s by Australian defense robot company Marathon Robotics, a firm which, up to now, has primarily built autonomous “moving targets” for defense and law enforcement to use in target practice. So if customers start shooting at DRU, it’s probably prepared.

In a brief release on its work for Domino’s, the company notes, “We remain committed to the defense and law enforcement market, and look forward to applying our technology and our near-decade of experience of robots operating in challenging real-world environments to new markets.”

While Domino’s hasn’t said where we’ll see DRU next (it would have to pass regulatory hurdles wherever it operates), Marathon Robotics reports it has unveiled the autonomous pizza truck in Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Japan and Germany.

Two big questions remain: When is it coming to one of the world’s biggest pizza markets, the U.S.A., and — more importantly — when a robot delivers your pizza, do you have to tip it?

Source: Mashable

Watch video at Facbook (1:05 minutes) . . . .

Pan-fried Veal with A Homey Cream Sauce


12 milk-fed veal cutlets
2/3 cup canola oil
1-1/2 cups sliced white onion
1-1/2 cups sliced white mushrooms
1/2 cup smoked bacon cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup Sauvignon Blanc
2 cups 35% cream
2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste


  1. In a large, deep non-stick frying pan, heat two Tbsp of oil over medium heat. Add onions, mushrooms and bacon. Saute until golden brown.
  2. Add wine. Cook for 2-3 mins, allowing the alcohol to evaporate. Add cream. Add garlic powder and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Simmer for 5-8 mins until sauce thickens. Keep warm.
  4. Heat a second non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Drizzle with 2 Tbsp of canola oil. Place two cutlets into pan and cook on each side 2-3 mins. Season each side with salt and pepper.
  5. Transfer cutlets to cream sauce.
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until all cutlets are cooked.
  7. Cook the cutlets and cream sauce for an additional 5 mins at medium-low heat. Serve topped with extra sauce.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: ciao!

In Pictures: Foods of Nakamuraya Western Restaurant (新宿中村屋) in Shinjuku, Japan

Japanese and Western Fusion Cuisine

The Restaurant

Slicing Meat Helped Shape Modern Humans

Allison Aubrey wrote . . . . .

Miss Manners and skilled prep cooks should be pleased: Our early human ancestors likely mastered the art of chopping and slicing more than 2 million years ago. Not only did this yield daintier pieces of meat and vegetables that were much easier to digest raw, with less chewing — it also helped us along the road to becoming modern humans, researchers reported Wednesday.

And our ancestors picked up these skills at least 1.5 million years before cooking took off as a common way to prepare food, the researchers say.

Chewing, it turns out, takes a lot of time and energy, say Katherine Zink and Daniel Lieberman, evolutionary biologists at Harvard University. They recently set about measuring precisely how much effort is required to chew raw food, and to what degree simple stone tools might have eased the toil.

“Every time I go out to dinner, I watch people chew,” Lieberman tells us. “And sometimes, I actually count how many times they chew.”

It’s not just a hobby. Lieberman’s interest gets to some basic questions of how humans evolved.

Scientists have long known that Homo erectus, an ancestor of modern humans who lived about 2 million years ago, had already evolved to have a bigger body and brain than earlier hominins, and would have needed much more daily energy to survive. But the jaw and teeth of H. erectus were much like ours today — significantly smaller and less powerful than those of Australopithecus afarensis, or other hominins of earlier epochs.

A diet that included cooked meat would have provided that ready energy without the need for sharp canines and big grinders. But the research evidence is pretty clear that cooking didn’t become common until about 500,000 years ago, Lieberman says. So, how did H. erectus get the needed calories?

Actors Stan Laurel and Edna Marlon play at socializing around the campfire. It turns out that early man’s brain developed in part thanks to cooking.

To test a long-held hypothesis that simple food processing might be the answer, Zink and Lieberman invited some Harvard colleagues to what Zink calls “a lab café,” and served them small portions of carrots, beets, jewel yams and goat meat. The food was served variously as roasted or raw; sliced, pounded or left in hunks.

“If I were to give you raw goat,” Lieberman says, “you’d chew, and nothing would happen.” Like a lot of wild game, goat meat tends to be stringy, he says. Chewing a big piece makes it more elastic, but it doesn’t readily break into pieces.

“But if you cut goat into smaller pieces,” he says, “your ability to chew it would improved dramatically.”

All the volunteers (14 for the vegetables and just 10 for the goat meat) wore a number of small sensors pasted to their faces, to detect and count contractions of various muscle fibers as they chewed the bite of food to the point of swallowing. The scientists then translated those contractions into a measure of muscular effort, and also checked to see how well the food was broken up.

Their results, published in the journal Nature, suggest that when eating a diet made up of one-third meat, if early humans pounded the vegetables before eating them, and sliced the meat, they would need to chew 17 percent less often and 26 percent less forcefully than if they started with larger slabs of the food. Every little flex of the jaw and grinding of the teeth adds up: Over the course of a year, Lieberman says, simply having a sharp stone to slice meat would reduce the number of “chews” needed by 2.5 million.

“I think it’s amazing,” he says, “to think that the simple stone tool could have a massive effect on how effectively we chew a piece of meat.”

It’s possible, he and Zink think, that the benefits of meat-eating and food processing favored the transition to smaller teeth and jaws.

But it seems more likely, they write in their study, that tool use and meat-eating simply reduced the evolutionary pressure to have big, powerful jaws and sharp teeth, “thus permitting selection to decrease facial and dental size for other functions, such as speech production, locomotion, thermoregulation, or, perhaps even changes in the size and shape of the brain.”

Source: npr

Burning More Calories Associated with Greater Gray Matter Volume in Brain, Reduced Alzheimer’s Risk

Whether they jog, swim, garden or dance, physically active older persons have larger gray matter volume in key brain areas responsible for memory and cognition, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and UCLA.

The findings, published today in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, showed also that people who had Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment experienced less gray matter volume reduction over time if their exercise-associated calorie burn was high.

A growing number of studies indicate physical activity can help protect the brain from cognitive decline, said investigator James T. Becker, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry, Pitt School of Medicine. But typically people are more sedentary as they get older, which also is when the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias increases.

“Our current treatments for dementia are limited in their effectiveness, so developing approaches to prevent or slow these disorders is crucial,” Dr. Becker said. “Our study is one of the largest to examine the relationship between physical activity and cognitive decline, and the results strongly support the notion that staying active maintains brain health.”

Led by Cyrus Raji, M.D., Ph.D., formerly a student at Pitt School of Medicine and now a senior radiology resident at UCLA, the team examined data obtained over five years from nearly 876 people 65 or older participating in the multicenter Cardiovascular Health Study. All participants had brain scans and periodic cognitive assessments. They also were surveyed about how frequently they engaged in physical activities, such as walking, tennis, dancing and golfing, to assess their calorie expenditure or energy output per week.

Using mathematical modeling, the researchers found that the individuals who burned the most calories had larger gray matter volumes in the frontal, temporal and parietal lobes of the brain, areas that are associated with memory, learning and performing complex cognitive tasks. In a subset of more than 300 participants at the Pitt site, those with the highest energy expenditure had larger gray matter volumes in key areas on initial brain scans and were half as likely to have developed Alzheimer’s disease five years later.

“Gray matter houses all of the neurons in your brain, so its volume can reflect neuronal health,” Dr. Raji explained. “We also noted that these volumes increased if people became more active over five years leading up to their brain MRI.”

He added that advancements in technology might soon make it feasible to conduct baseline neuroimaging studies of people who already have mild cognitive impairment or who are at risk for a dementia disorder, with the aim of prescribing lifestyle approaches such as physical activity to prevent further memory deterioration.

“Rather than wait for memory loss, we might consider putting the patient on an exercise program and then rescan later to see if there are any changes in the brain,” Dr. Raji said.

Source: University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

Read more:

Even Gardening or Dancing Might Cut Alzheimer’s Risk . . . . .

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