27/06/2012 06:18 BST | Updated 27/08/2012 06:12 BST

Robot Restaurant: Digital Bistro Uses 18 Kinds Of Robots To Make And Serve Food (PHOTOS)

A meal prepared and served by robots is one of the oldest dreams in technology, from the Jetsons to Blade Runner.

(It is also subtly, though crucially, different to a meal prepared and served by vending machine, which is disgusting).

Now one restaurant in China has finally achieved the dream.

In downtown Harbin, there is a bistro where 18 different robots take charge of virtually every element of preparing and cooking your meal.

Specialist androids are in place to make noodles, prepare dumplings and greet you with a cheerful "Earth person - hello!".

A special track running through the restaurant tells the robots where to go, and a singing robot is also on hand to entertain you while you eat.

The Harbin Haohai Robot Company, who designed the mechanical autotmatons, said they cost about £500,000 to make and design.

However the robots are not entirely working alone - there is a staff controlling aspects of their movement in a back room, and working out when the little guys need an electricity boost (their batteries last only five hours).

China's Robotic Restaurant