It’s been a long time, tired out day in the office; it’s really hard to motivate yourself to cook a proper meal when you get in to home. Instead of reaching for the saucepan, many opt for the quicker and easier option of ready meals, many of which are not exactly healthy or fully nutritious. But what if you could have a versatile robotic assistant in the kitchen, ready to lash you up a gourmet meal whenever you so desire? That’s the dream of Moley Robotics, a London-based company that has developed a prototype “robochef” crafted for the home.
It announced today at Germany’s Hannover Messe technology fair, the machine consists of two amazingly dexterous robotic arms installed atop a cooking area, complete with hob, a sink and an oven. The robot’s sophisticated and fully uttered hands were shaped by Shadow Robot Company, another London-based company, whose products are used globally, including by NASA.
Rather than cooking like a machine, the system works by first recording creature actions in 3D and then converting these into highly precise activities. The prototype was skilled by chef Tim Anderson, who spent time pounding up original dishes in a motion-capture studio. During a exhibition, Anderson had the robot make a crab bisque, but he told BBC News it can do anything from a bit of prep to completing an entire dish.
According to Moley’s website, the company has set to launch an end user edition to market by 2017 that will feature several additions, including a library of thousands recipes, a refrigerator, and a dishwasher. Which means you not only won’t have to cook or prep for yourself if you can’t be bothered, but you don’t even need to wash up kitchenware afterward. Marvelous, you will even be able to control it remotely using an app, which means you just have to order your dish to be ready for when you get home.
Ultimately, Moley hopes to create an edition of robochef complete with cameras so that users can instruct it to create their own dishes, which can then be uploaded to a digital recipe library and shared with other people as well. They want the present models should be competent of dealing with delicate things like stopping mixing at the right moment to prevent splitting or over-beating.
“Something would change; we would observe it in the sensor data. Maybe something gets stiffer or softer,” Shadow’s Rich Walker explains to BBC News. “We ought be able to sense that and use it as the point to changeover to the next stage of the cooking process.”
Of course, such sophisticated technology won’t come at cheap, and will set you back close to $15,000 (£10,000), but confidently the price will go down over time as with any new technology.