People are so excited about the prospect of a robotic pancake maker that they are throwing money at it faster than you can flip pancakes on a griddle.
“There is lots of stuff happening,” PancakeBot’s creator, Miguel Valenzuela, told ABC News today. “We’re getting lots of feedback from the community and getting ideas about how we’re going to enhance the final product.”
Valenzuela has spent nearly four years traveling the world with the PancakeBot, displaying it at Maker Faires and even, last June, at the White House.
“We were just giggling that here we are at the White House with a PancakeBot,” Valenzuela, 40, said of his wife, Runi, and daughters, Lily, 7, and Maia, 5, who all attended the first-ever White House Maker Faire.
Lily and Maia inspired Valenzuela to create the PancakeBot nearly four years ago when they saw him reading a magazine article about a guy who made a pancake stamping machine out of LEGOs and told their dad they would like one too. Valenzuela, a Norway-based civil engineer, spent six months building a working LEGO pancake machine for his daughters and then set to work building a non-LEGO prototype for the rest of us.
The resulting PancakeBot that has set Kickstarter on fire comes with software that allows you to trace any shape or design you want on your computer. You then save the design onto a memory card and PancakeBot can reproduce it.
The PancakeBot uses a patent-pending batter dispensing system to "print" the batter onto the included griddle. Additions like food coloring can also be used to make your pancake art even more realistic.
“Personally I envision it in a suburban family’s kitchen,” Valenzuela said. “I also see it in the hotel and restaurant industry, where you’d be able to take your kid into a café and they’d be able to draw their pancake right on the spot.”
The most generous supporters of the PancakeBot on Kickstarter can get their own limited edition, personalized PancakeBot with a pledge of $2,000 or more. Other incentives for pledges under $2,000 range from aprons to getting your own face made in a pancake.
“The main reason I kept pushing forward with this was to inspire kids to learn about technology and to get into engineering and to look at technology in a different way,” Valenzuela said.
The PancakeBot's Kickstarter campaign ends April 10. After that, Valenzuela and his partners at Storebound, who have teamed up with him to bring the product to the market, will make final design improvements before it is mass-produced.
The PancakeBot is expected to retail for $299, according to Valenzuela.
In the meantime, Valenzuela says his daughters still cannot get enough of their dad’s pancake-making prowess.
“My daughter LIly asks me when I die if she can have the PancakeBot,” Valenzuela said. “She’s a little funny with it.”
“They completely love it,” he said of both girls.