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Robot kitchen struts its stuff in Shanghai

China Daily | Updated: 2015-06-09 07:29

Robot kitchen struts its stuff in Shanghai

Moley Robotic kitchen station, with fully articulated hands, cooks during a recent science show in Shanghai. [Photo/China Daily]

The world's first automated kitchen made its public debut in May at the Consumer Science Show in Shanghai.

A robot stirs and sautes like a pro in an integrated, top-of-the-line kitchen. The creator, Moley Robotics, aims to produce a mass-market consumer version within two years, supported by an iTunes-style library of recipes that can be downloaded and created by the kitchen.

Tim Anderson, winner of the prestigious BBC Master Chef 2011 competition, developed a dish that would test the system's 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 Anderson stirred the liquids to the way he controlled the stove temperature.

The British company Moley Robotics and its partners then translated his actions into elegant digital movement using custom algorithms.

"The robot doesn't just cook like Tim," the company says on its website. "In terms of skill, technique and execution it is Tim producing the dish."

Anderson says he is stunned by the results.

"To be honest, I didn't think this was possible. I chose crab bisque as a dish because it's a real challenge for human chef to make well, never mind a machine."

Two highly complex, fully articulated hands, made by the Shadow Robot Company, make the kitchen's technology possible. The culmination of more than 18 years' research and development, the company says its products are used in the nuclear industry and by NASA.

"This is the beginning of something really significant: a whole new opportunity for producing good food and for people to explore the world's cuisines," Anderson says. "If the robot kitchen can cook a bisque, it can do stir-fries and we're looking forward to teaching it many more recipes in the months to come."

Home chefs will be able to upload their favorite recipes too, the company says.

The automated kitchen is not just a labor-saving gadget, insists Mark Oleynik, Moley Robotics' founder: "It is a platform for our creativity. It can even teach us how to become better cooks."

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