From a nearby shrine here in Tokyo, I can hear the jingling of a bell being rung by devotees of Inari, a Shinto harvest god. They're praying for prosperity, which may or may not come in the form of lots of rice.
Doubtless the deity would drool over the latest rice-packing machine from automation firm Suzumo. It's a sushi robot that specializes in inarizushi, a fishless sushi variety consisting of rice wrapped in pouches of fried tofu, which the god and his fox messengers crave big-time.
The latest version of the device can churn out up to 2,500 inarizushi packets per hour.
It's even more impressive when you consider how it uses an air nozzle to automatically inflate the tofu pouches just enough to pack the rice in.
As seen in the vid below, users simply have to add sushi rice to the hopper and set the tofu skins on a turntable. The machine does the rest.
By swapping different arms, it can make inarizushi in triangular or rectangular shapes. If you don't have a god-sized appetite, it can pack the sushi at a rate of only 1,200 pouches per hour.
Recently shown off at Fooma Japan, a food automation trade show in Tokyo, the inarizushi robot sells for some $50,000.
Manna has no price, but industrial sushi certainly does.
(Via DigInfo News)