Cooking is a skill which most of us never find the time to master. It takes a lot of practice and persistence before the dishes we’ve cooked become works of art. Still, everybody appreciates a well cooked meal and if it was up to us to decide, we would have every meal prepared by someone with excellent cooking skills. This may become possible in the near future, as a robotic chef is already being trained to mimic the work of celebrity MasterChefs.
You Don’t Need a Whole Droid in the Kitchen
This robot of the future is actually a pair of robotic hands produced by the London-based company, Shadow Robot. Using technology that has already been applied in NASA projects, this company has begun to create two very precise hands that can create whole meals without any human help. Equipped with twenty-four joints and twenty motors, these hands can mimic a bunch of complicated tasks, which is the purpose of their creation. Cooking by completely recreating the movements of the trained chef is an interesting way to teach a robot such a difficult task.
It’s Easy When You Have the Recipe
A recipe for this robot is a special recording of the whole food preparation process. The ingredients are listed and all the movements are translated into machine language using complex algorithms. This is why the prototype of this robot can already cook bisque like celebrity MasterChef Tim Anderson in just thirty minutes.
What Does this Imply?
For a robot to do all of this on its own, it needs to gather the ingredients, measure adequate quantities and show some actual skill on and off the stove. Cutting ingredients, melting butter and stirring everything together may sound simple for a human, but, for a machine, it is simply amazing. As long as it has all of the ingredients it needs and it has already seen someone else prepare the meal, this robot should be able to replicate the process.
A Giant Door to New Possibilities
These robotic hands are not only intended to operate in restaurant kitchens and large service facilities. The whole installation is small enough to fit into a home kitchen. If the final price makes it affordable, this robotic chef could be a way to try something new at home without fearing that you will mess up the recipe.
The idea is to make recipes available online, so that people can have access to an unlimited number of different dishes. Recipes would be categorised and rated by other users who have already had the chance to try them out. In the future, a simple download and install should be enough to enrich your home’s menu. Of course, you will still need to have all the ingredients; there is no going around that at the moment. However, many shops do have automated stock control nowadays, so automatic food ordering for cupboard replenishment at home might even be possible in the future.
More Free Time and Healthier Meals
Not being needed in the kitchen will give you a lot more free time and it will allow you to eat more healthily. The robotic hands can prepare your lunch or dinner in your absence and they can time it just right so you can have a hot plate when you return home. This will eliminate the need for quick fixes like fast food which are never good for your health.
If you want to entertain guests at home over dinner, this robot can save you all the trouble of slaving over a hot stove. You can actually enjoy more time in conversation with your friends, rather than going in and out of the kitchen all evening.
The Limitations of the Robot
The obvious limitation of any robot chef is that a robot does not have taste buds. Sometimes, the same ingredients can give different results and chefs have to rely on taste to adjust the recipe. This will eliminate some extremely complex dishes, but there are still many recipes that will work every time.
These robot hands will also lack the dexterity needed to prepare sushi. Slicing and filleting might be out of reach at the moment, but given enough time, this concept has the potential to overcome all obstacles.
In the end, it all comes down to the question, “Would you try it?” Some cooks feel a great sense of achievement in preparing food on their own, so they may be reluctant to try the robotic chef. However, if you only know how to boil an egg and cook spaghetti, this may just be the perfect thing for you.