The world's first Automated Kitchen was unveiled today at Hanover Messe, the premier industrial robotics 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 consumer version within two years, supported by an iTunes' style library of recipes that can be downloaded and created by the kitchen.
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 and Mauro Izzo, 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 used in the nuclear industry and by NASA. Able to faithfully reproduce the movements of a human hand, their utility underpins the unique capability of the Automated 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 Stamford (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. The kitchen even 'signs off' its work with an 'OK' gesture - just as the chef does.
Moley Robotics, which is head quartered in the UK is now working to scale the technology ready for mass production and instillation in regular sized kitchens. Future iterations will be more compact, with smaller control arms but with added functionality in the form of a built in refrigerator and dishwasher to complement a professional-grade hob and oven.
The company is working with designers, home builders 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 cookbook market. Home chefs will be able to upload their favourite recipes too, and so help create the 'iTunes' for food.