Robotic arms will soon invade home kitchens but in a good way. U.K. company Moley Robotics is rolling out special robotic kitchens that can prepare “MasterChef-quality” dishes using pre-set recipes from top chefs around the world. According to the Telegraph, dozens of buyers expressed interest when the Moley robotic kitchen was first unveiled at an exhibition. The fully-functioning units will be for sale in 2018 and will come with a standard kitchen, refrigerator, oven, small appliances, a dishwasher and a big set of robotic arms. The humanoid hands are able to stir, drizzle, and garnish gourmet dishes—which would have taken a talented chef hours to prepare in the past. There will also be a library of recipes to choose from.
In the case of the sample dish—crab bisque—, Moley Robotics used a recipe prepared by MasterChef 2011 winner Tim Anderson.
The machine recorded his hand and body movements in a 3D film. The Moley robotic kitchen follows Anderson’s hand movements from the video, in order to imitate his exact motions through machine learning and an algorithm.
Moley Robotic Kitchen: Artificial Intelligence in Your Kitchen
While this invention will surely make home kitchens more tech-savvy, developers went to great lengths to ensure that it would be accepted by human users. “Many people who watch the robot have an emotional reaction to it,” shares Moley Robotics Operations Manager Alina Isachenka. She adds, “It was really important to make sure it wasn’t scary. It would have been more cost-efficient to use a two or three-fingered gripper, but people may be scared by that—they don’t want a two-fingered robot in their kitchen.”
More importantly, the robot hands were made to work at human speed, truly mimicking the pace of a human chef. What the Moley robotic kitchen lacks, however, are the instincts of a seasoned cook who has spent years working in the kitchen. This case is partially made up for by the collection of fabulous recipes from top chefs, which is almost like having your own private chef to prepare meals.
Other Details on the Moley Robotic Kitchen
The Moley robotic kitchen also preserves cultural heritage and heirloom recipes in its digital library. Forbes reports that the initial units will cost around $92,000, but the price is expected to become more affordable ($25,000 per set) over time. Mark Oleynik, the Russian CEO and founder of Moley Robotics, believes that the Moley robotic kitchen affirms the continued expansion of Artificial Intelligence. He was quick to stress that humans have no reason to fear the presence of AI or robotic arms in their home kitchens.
“A key part of the development process ensures the safe and consistent operation of every meal, within normal parameters,” he said. Although WiFi is needed for getting new recipes, sharing your own work, or recording a new dish, the recipes database that comes with the Moley robotic kitchen is conveniently available offline. In addition, you can use the Moley robotic kitchen manually as well.
While the Moley robotic kitchen is seen as an intriguing and possibly disruptive force in the food and technology industries, this type of tech is still years away from truly replicating the expertise of a trained chef in the kitchen. Food has to be carefully measured and placed into the robotic kitchen for it to prepare meals. Nonetheless, it is a step on the road to automating high-end and gourmet cooking. Indeed, the Moley robotic kitchen is yet another application of AI and robotics merging with daily life.