Robotic God of Cookery


After a typical long day of studying and doing mindless household chores, the sensation of hunger has been slowly building up within me throughout the day and is almost reaching its limit…again. This is when my sense of smell starts to become more enhanced and is now even able to pick up the scent of freshly brewed coffee next door. Shortly after, my whole body is also experiencing the urge of eating any sort of ‘food’ that has been lying around the house for the past few weeks. From sugar heavy sweets to rotten Gouda cheese. I am literally stuffing anything that is somewhat comestible into my mouth. As a self-proclaimed healthy and sportive student, consciously eating a whole lot of rubbish feels absolutely demoralizing. Sadly enough, I’ve to admit for being a very lousy cook, because anything coming out from me and a kitchen is not even recommended serving it to farm animals (understatement).

Instead of ordering takeout food for the hundredth time, it’s time to find a permanent solution for this escalating issue. So I’ve been surfing on the web, doing some research on easy cooking solutions and what not. Soon enough, I am relieved to find out that I am not the only one in this same situation. In fact, a ton of people are in the same boat and they have come up with some unbelievable brilliant and utterly stupid ideas. I came across healthy microwave food (still not healthy enough), hiring amateur/professional chefs (not sustainable due to pathetic student buying power) and even some guy from a forum suggested to learn pets how to cook, which I sincerely hope that he was joking around. But anyways, after some more digging around I finally stumbled upon this incredible video.

Yes! This is exactly what I was hoping for and desperately need! A fully automatic robot chef that cooks perfect meals everyday. The company behind this sophisticated piece of hardware is Moley Robotics, founded by computer scientist Mark Oleynik. Their aim is to have professional chefs record themselves through special 3D motion capturing camera that mimics the techniques and processes of the dish. The robotic arms and hands are capable of grasping utensils, pots, dishes and various bottles of ingredients. Currently, the robot is only able to make one dish, the crab bisque. However, Moley Robotics is planning to build up a digital library of 2,000 recipes before the robotic kitchen is put on the market for the general public.

So what is a information strategy blog without a little pros and cons analysis on automation of cooking:

Advantages:

  • Consistency
    Highly automated robots have the capability to improve the consistency of every cooked meal. All recipes are performed with precision and high repeatability. The level of consistency is almost impossible to achieve by a human without error, hence every meal coming out of that kitchen won’t taste like horse dung anymore.
  • Speed
    With automated cooking processes, the throughput speed increases, which directly impacts the production speed of the meal. Because cooking robot is able to work in perfect sequence without pausing for breaks, the speed will definitely surpass human capabilities, maybe even ninjas.
  • Safety
    According to statistics, every year, over 100,000 people are injured in a kitchen related accident, myself included. Robots will replace humans in the kitchen and effectively eliminate the chance of getting injured while cooking.
  • Saves time
    Instead of wasting your precious time on cooking, spent more time doing more meaningful things. Like playing video games or doing pranks on your significant other.

Disadvantages:

  • Expensive
    Although this robot chef also comes with a specially designed automated kitchen, which includes a stove top, utensils and a sink, it will probably put on the market for a hefty price of €13,000. Have I already mentioned how pathetic my current buying power is?
  • Downtime
    Like any other computer automation technology, in case of a breakdown or system malfunction, the whole robot is useless. Ordering takeout food after this ridiculous robotic investment is not a option anymore.
  • Lack of creativity
    Because of the automated cooking processes, every meal will taste the same, there is no room for any creativity around the recipe. Sometimes you may want add a different ingredient to spice up the dish, unfortunately this is not possible with the robot chef.

Watching Moley Robotics’s robot chef perform is quite impressive to say at least, it could potentially be my ultimate savior from my cooking nightmares. The overall concept sounds promising, but there is still a lot of work to be done on Moley’s robotic kitchen before it would be even remotely practical for consumer use. As the robot doesn’t have any way of visualizing its surroundings, it’s unable to locate an ingredient or utensil that might be moved or knocked out of place. Another key limitation of the system is its lack of robustness. Failure in any of the robot’s systems leads to a failure to successfully follow the recipe and has to start the whole cooking process over again. Even though the price seems quite expensive at first, but considering the fact that a fully equipped kitchen is in the price range of €7,500 – €25.000, the robot chef is an affordable alternative. Will this robotic chef replace every human chef in town and disrupt the restaurant business forever? Who knows? Well, at least for now, I should probably try prepare myself a meal again before I starve to death, wish me luck!


References

1. Kim J. Kitchen Accidents & Safety Guidelines. Avvocom. 2012. Available at: http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/kitchen-accidents–safety-guidelines. Accessed October 11, 2015.

2. Charlton A. Robotic chef can cook Michelin star food in your kitchen by mimicking world’s best cooks. International Business Times UK. 2015. Available at: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/robotic-chef-can-cook-michelin-star-food-your-kitchen-by-mimicking-worlds-best-cooks-1496168. Accessed October 11, 2015.

3. Gibson M. Meet The Robot Chef That Can Prepare Your Dinner. TIMEcom. 2015. Available at: http://time.com/3819525/robot-chef-moley-robotics/. Accessed October 11, 2015.

4. Moley.com. Moley. 2015. Available at: http://www.moley.com/. Accessed October 11, 2015.

5. Packing Robots Offer Flexibility P. Advantages and Disadvantages of Automating with Industrial Robots. Robotscom. 2015. Available at: https://www.robots.com/blog/viewing/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-automating-with-industrial-robots. Accessed October 11, 2015.

6. Desai J, Dudek G, Khatib O, Kumar V. Experimental Robotics. Cham: Springer; 2013.

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