The world’s first robotic kitchen was unveiled at Hannover Messe, an industrial robotics show in Germany this week. By mimicking the actions of a human chef, the robotic kitchen can prepare meals.
Moley Robotics, a U.K. robotics firm, developed the kitchen with help from celebrity chef Tim Anderson. He first created a recipe—crab bisque—that would be challenging enough to test the system’s capabilities. Anderson was then 3-D recorded while preparing the meal. All of his movements were captured and then digitized using algorithms. The kitchen has fully articulated arms and hands that were created by Shadow Robot, the same company that supplies robotic hands for NASA.
As sophisticated as it is, the kitchen isn’t actually an intelligent robot. It only copies the recording of Anderson’s movements, so a person must first set out the right ingredients. In the future, integrated sensors and better algorithms could help the robot identify objects. The company plans to sell the kitchen to the public by 2017. The commercial version would be more compact, with smaller arms and a built in refrigerator and dishwasher. It will be supported by an itunes-style digital library of recipes prepared by celebrity chefs. The anticipated cost of the mass-market robot kitchen is to $14,600, which is relatively inexpensive, considering that kitchen renovations typically cost closer to $20,000 for appliances that just sit there while humans do all of the hard work.