The world’s first Robotic Kitchen made its public debut at CES Asia, the premier consumer technology show. Created by Moley Robotics, the system features a dexterous robot integrated into a kitchen that cooks with the skill and flair of a master chef.
The company’s goal is to produce a mass-market consumer version within two years, supported by an iTunes’ style library of recipes that can be downloaded and created by the kitchen. Moley Robotics is now in talks with leading international technology companies about possible collaborations.
The prototype in action at the show is the product of two years development and the collaboration of an international team including Sebastian Conran who designed the cooking utensils, DYSEGNO and the Yachtline Company, who created the futuristic Kitchen furniture.
Two highly complex, fully articulated hands, made by the Shadow Robot Company, comprise the kitchen’s key enabling technology. The product of over eighteen years research and development, Shadow’s products are also used by NASA. Able to faithfully reproduce the movements of a human hand, their utility underpins the unique capability of the Robotic Kitchen.
The Moley Robotics system does not cook like a machine – it captures human skills in motion. Tim Anderson, culinary innovator and winner of the prestigious BBC Master Chef competition (2011) played an integral role in the kitchen’s development.
He first developed a dish that would test the systems capabilities – a crab bisque – and was then 3-D recorded in a special studio cooking it. Every motion and nuance was captured, from the way Tim stirred the liquids to the way he controlled the temperature of the hob. His actions were then translated into elegant digital movement using bespoke algorithms created with the collaboration between Moley and teams from Shadow, Universities of Stanford (USA) and SSSUP Pisa (Italy). The robot doesn’t just cook like Tim – in terms of skill, technique and execution it is Tim producing the dish.
“To be honest, I didn’t think this was possible. I chose crab bisque as a dish because it’s a real challenge for human chef to make well, never mind a machine. Having seen – and tasted – the results for myself, I am stunned. This is the beginning of something really significant: a whole new opportunity for producing good food and for people to explore the world’s cuisines. If it can cook a bisque, it can do stir-fries and we’re looking forward to teaching it many more recipes in the months to come.”
Also on display at CES Asia is a full-scale reproduction of Moley Robotic’s consumer product. Designed to fit in regular kitchens and featuring smaller control arms, the mass-market version will also have added functionality in the form of a built in dishwasher to complement a professional-grade hob and oven.
The company is working with designers, homebuilders, kitchen installers and food suppliers to promote the system. The mass-market product will be supported by a digital library of over 2000 dishes when it launches in 2017 and it is envisaged that celebrity chefs will embrace 3-D cooking downloads as an appealing addition to cook book market. Home chefs will be able to upload their favorite recipes too, and so help create the ‘iTunes’ for food.
Moley Robotics was founded by London-based computer scientist, robotics and healthcare innovator Dr Mark Oleynik. The company’s aim is to produce technologies that address basic human needs and improve day-to-day quality of life.
“Whether you love food and want to explore different cuisines, or fancy saving a favorite family recipe for everyone to enjoy for years to come, the Robotic Kitchen can do this. It is not just a labor saving device – it is a platform for our creativity. It can even teach us how to become better cooks!”