artificial intelligence

Robot chef, artificial intelligence lands in the kitchen

A robot chef that perfectly replicates the recipes of the best chefs in the world.

Food processor. If this word evokes the memory of your aunt ‘s Thermomix or the planetary mixer so dear to your mother, you are off track. Here we are talking about machines capable of carrying out actions light years away from simple blending or shredding. The technologies seen at the Hannover Messe fair, in fact, represent something completely new compared to what we are used to seeing in our kitchens. The robot chef has arms, complete with opposable hands and thumbs, and is capable of replicating any recipe made by a real-life chef (as long as this shows him how to do it).

These great robotic arts are mounted above an apparently ordinary kitchenette and are able to assemble the ingredients, mix them, cook them and serve them all with the taste of a true professional.

How the robot chef works

The machine acts by replicating the actions of a real cook, who prepares the original recipe to provide the robot with the model to be copied: the cook wears gloves equipped with sensors that record the movements, similar to those used by Hollywood actors to give movements to animation characters and the execution of the recipe is filmed from various angles. All these data are then converted into a 3D representation of the actions performed to prepare the dish and everything is transformed into an algorithm that allows you to control the robot.

To demonstrate his skills at the Hanover Fair, the robot chef prototype copied the recipe for crab soup by Tim Anderson, one of the winners of Masterchef UK who, he said, was very impressed by the machine’s ability to grasp the small tricks at the base of the culinary art. The Masterchef chef is also collaborating with the company to create a recipe database that can be used by the robot.

A cookbook to copy chefs

The project is to enrich his robot chef with a library of over 2000 recipes. And since the machine is capable of learning the various preparations by perfectly imitating the cook who gives it the example, the user can select not only the dish, but also its creator, allowing everyone to enter a virtual version of the dish favorite chef within his own kitchen. So, within a few years, we have the luxury of making us prepare a rice, gold and saffron or to present to friends the famous marinated egg yolk of Cracco chef.

A robot in every home

According to ambitious forecasts, the robot chef will be ready for mass consumption and will cost approximately 14 thousand euros (including a kitchen equipped with oven, hob, dishwasher and sink). A figure that is definitely too high to be able to define it as a “mass” product but which has the potential to carve out a space within the market.

However, before thinking about a possible launch on the market, there is still a lot of work to be done at Moley. At present the prototype is not able to see and therefore cannot take the ingredients unless they are positioned following a precise pattern. And it’s still not reliable with knives, so all foods must be prepared in advance. These problems will be solved with future versions and the machine will be enriched with other equipment, such as a refrigerator, in which to insert some ingredients, or a dishwasher. Apparently, in fact, the robot chef hasn’t figured out how to wash the dishes yet.