IBM’s Watson has a little competition in the kitchen. The artificial intelligence machine just released a cookbook, but Moley Robotics wants to put an entire robotic chef in your kitchen. Debuting at international robotics show Hanover Messe, the prototype is a sneak peek at what the company hopes to release to consumers in 2017.
The prototype is a result of a collaboration Moley and the Shadow Robot Company, which actually created the hands. At the show, the robot is whipping up crab bisque, which it “learned” to make by mimicking BBC MasterChef winner Tim Anderson; a 3D camera filmed him making the recipe, and the robot’s commands were based on the chef’s movements.
The appeal of the robot for chefs is that it can make each dish precisely the same way every time. For homeowners, it’s the convenience, says Anderson. “What I would want is it to make me a good meal, a fresh meal, made from good, fresh ingredients when I can’t be bothered to do it,” he tells The BBC.
NASA has its own pair of the robotic hands, which are dexterous enough to stir a pot, pour in ingredients, and transfer dirty dishes to the sink. However, they can’t do everything: Sushi might be beyond its capabilities at the moment. “Maybe with sushi rolls it might be fine, but with nigiri sushi it would be very, very difficult, as it would need to use certain pressure and certain quick movements” to be as good as a human, chef Wojciech Psykala of Kouzu restaurant told IBTimes UK. Still, the hands, which are driven by motors and sensors, were created to be as close a human’s as possible, and with the exception of a few movements in the thumb, “all the other joint movements are actually there,” Rich Walker of Shadow Robot tells the BBC.
When it’s released in two years, the robot will have even more abilities than it does now. The robot will come with a built-in fridge and dishwasher and have over 2,000 cooking options in its recipe library. If you want to tackle a recipe yourself, you’ll be able to fold up the hands and place them in a cupboard. The expected price is about $14,800 (£10,000), which, surprisingly, is more than we typically spend per year on takeout.