The kitchen of the future was recently unveiled at the Messe Fair in Hanover, Germany, complete with utensils, appliances and a pair of robotic hands to do the cooking. It’s the dream kitchen for people who don’t cook, and for those who do, it’s a way to experience the culinary delights of some world-class chefs without leaving home.
The hands alone (which are manufactured by another firm) took 18 years to develop and are controlled by 24 motors, 26 microprocessors and 129 sensors. The system is trained by mimicking the actions of a master chef who prepares a signature dish wearing special sensor-studded gloves. The chef’s movements are recorded from various angles and synthesized into a three-dimensional template which is used to program an algorithm that drives the robotic kitchen. The robot captures the subtleties of movement with amazing accuracy and consistency, assembling ingredients, cooking them in the appropriate pots, pans or oven, and then serving them up with the flair of a professional.
The system will be supported by an online library of more than 2,000 recipes from top chefs around the world, but when users feel the urge to prepare their own recipes, it can simply be switched to manual mode and used as a normal kitchen. Or, they can train the system to prepare their own favorites using the same high-tech gloves.
The robotic chef isn’t yet trained to use knives, but future versions are expected to have that capability. For now, ingredients need to be prepared in advance and placed in preset positions. And there’s one other drawback – like most professional chefs, the robotic version doesn’t do dishes. However, the developer plans to add a dishwasher before releasing the first consumer version in 2017, which will carry a price tag of about $15,000.
For information: Mark Oleynik, Moley Robotics; Web site: www.moley.com or Shadow Robot Company Ltd., 251 Liverpool Road, London N1 1LX, United Kingdom; phone: +44-20-7700-2487; Web site: www.shadowrobot.com