Hospital Food Is Getting Better, Thanks To Sally The Robot

Hospital options are always limited, but this robot brings fresh ingredients to the menu.

Hospital food is notorious for being less than delightful. If you're a hospital employee, you know that options get severely limited during off-hours, when you're pretty much stuck with vending machines. As much as I love a snack-sized bag of Doritos, that's no meal. But at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, Illinois, a robot named Sally is now available to feed employees and patients at any hour of the day.

WCIA reports that Sally is stocked with 22 fresh ingredients, which can be used to create various bowls, salads, and snacks. You can also order predesigned meals so you don't have to hunt and peck through all the options to create something to eat. That beats the pants off the Farmers Fridge salad vending machine I used to visit when I worked in downtown Chicago. Sally sounds like a welcome bit of 24/7 technology to feed employees and patients alike.

Users can customize their order by adding or subtracting ingredients, and Sally will display nutritional information on the fly, so if you've got special dietary needs you'll be able to order what you want. That sounds particularly handy in a hospital for patients who might have dietary restrictions.

The vending robot was designed by Chowbotics, which is a company owned by DoorDash. Sally's services are only be available in one location in the hospital, but may possibly become a mobile service that can be used all over the facility. Imagine the possibilities of Sally on wheels!

"I am excited to bring Sally to Carle," food services director Kevin Steffes said. "We will be able to provide fresh, customizable salads 24/7 for staff and visitors."

Maybe a salad or a bowl isn't quite like sneaking in a hot dog for a loved one, but it sure beats a pudding cup off a hospital tray. Plus it comes from a robot named Sally.