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McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines were hacked and the Cold War began

McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines were hacked and the Cold War began

As the problems escalated, Nest cameras went to mount Frobot cabinets to capture video of what might be wrong inside. Once, they saw how the components of a Tesla factory Frobot were mixed out of Taylor’s machine and the liquid yogurt was catastrophically bleeding into the nearby closet. Seven hours later, a Tesla food service worker was seen accidentally opening the closet, untouched by the sticky mess and quietly replacing the plastic pallet component he had forgotten when cleaning the machine.

It soon became clear that their business was opposed to automation: no one at Levi’s Stadium or Tesla was able to set up or maintain a Frobot without the constant practical support of the founders of Frobot. And the problem was the Taylor machine that was at the heart of Frobot. “Holy shit,” O’Sullivan realized he remembered. “They just suck on these machines.”

O’Sullivan and Nelson began to make it clear that they would have to pivot. And they had already inadvertently built a prototype for another product that provided a solution to the problem of ending the current business.

For the next year, Taylor reduced the computer component of Frobot, which listened to data from ice cream machines, to build features that allowed him to see and control all the variables on the machine – including some that automatically avoided 5-2. -3-1 code to access its service menu – the machine’s hiccup interface for numerous diagnostics and troubleshooting software, and a wonderful case for the Raspberry Pi mini computer that fed it.

In the spring of 2019, they re-launched the company, this time under the name Kytch. (As a testament to the greatness of their intentions, they chose a name that suggested the idea of ​​an entire connected kitchen, leaving open the range of products that went beyond Taylor’s ice cream machines).

When Kytch launched it in April of that year, Nelson drove around the Bay Area looking for any restaurant that used a Taylor machine, introducing franchisees to LinkedIn and offering a six-month free trial before starting a $ 10 monthly subscription. After finding some initial customers of the Burger Kings and Super Duper Burgers, they eventually began to enter their true target market, with franchisees not only representing the largest collection of Taylor machine owners, but also the ones who used the most complex ones. borked Taylor’s digital version of the product: McDonald’s.

In the fall of 2019, when McDonald’s began to delve into the baroque inner workings of the world, O’Sullivan and Nelson were surprised that most restaurant owners had never entered or even heard of a service menu that unlocked temperature-like variables. glycol used in the machine or its pasteurization process. “It was a real‘ aha ’moment,” Nelson says. “Why are these features so important behind this menu that people don’t know are hidden?”

Meanwhile, many McDonald’s owners were paying thousands of dollars a month to Taylor distributors for service fees, often for making easy changes blocked behind that menu. So they added a function called Kytch Assist to Kytch to automatically detect some common machine faults as they occur and to adjust these hidden variables to prevent some mishaps before it happened.

A franchisee, afraid of being paid by McDonald’s to ask WIRED not to identify me, told me that the ice cream machine in one of his restaurants was out almost every week due to a mysterious failure in the pasteurization cycle. He examined the assembly of the machine again and again, in vain.

The installation of the Kytch revealed almost immediately that an overworker was doing too much mixing at one of the machine’s vendors. He wakes up every morning at 5:30, picks up the phone and confirms that all his machines have passed the treacherous heat treatment. Another franchise technician told me that despite the fact that Kytch has nearly doubled in price over the past two years and added an $ 250 activation fee, the owner can “easily save thousands of dollars a month”.

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