Ceiling robots will be dropping food to diners at the 2022 Winter Olympics

COVID-19 protocols will be strict at the upcoming winter games.

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people being served by ceiling robot
Photo: He Penglei/China News Service (Getty Images)

The 2022 Winter Olympics are coming up in Beijing starting February 4, and the Olympic campus is gearing up for the action. The athletes, coaches, and all involved, including media, are going to need to eat somehow. But this year’s Olympics involves especially strict protocols in place due to the ongoing pandemic. One of the dining halls serving media, will be bringing food to people via a very novel delivery system: robots that drop food down from the ceiling, ABC 7 reports.

I’m not a huge sports person, but every time the Olympic games roll around, I get really excited. When else are you going to watch people barrel down a track, riding on an open sled? And at what other time are you going to be able to pretend that you’re an expert at speed skating, shouting at the TV? Plus, it’s fun learning about how Olympians eat in their villages.

Operations look pretty tight this year. Anyone involved in the 2022 Olympics first has to quarantine for three weeks. Afterwards, they’re assigned to a “bubble” of people, and if they leave for some reason, they can’t return.

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In this new dining hall, pink robotic dumbwaiters that resemble claw machines drop down from the ceiling, holding plates. Once the plate reaches the diner, the claws open up, which gives access to the food within. After the diner grabs their dish, the robot retracts back into the ceiling for the next order. Every seat is surrounded by a plexiglass shield to keep everyone separated as they remove their mask and chow down.

While that does sound a little impersonal and lonely, safety considerations are the name of the game. We all need to eat somehow, though, and if the food gets to you, by robot, so be it. Now let’s get ready to watch some sick ski jumps.