What do robots make? Well, if you’re familiar with the kinds of robots that use Indramat servo motors and drives, you might say that robots make manufactured goods, or maybe that they’re used for packaging manufactured goods. You probably wouldn’t say, soup.
But that’s where you would be wrong, because there is now a robot that has perfected the art of making bisque. The robot was designed by Moley Robotics with the aid of actual chef Tim Anderson. This culinary automaton uses servo motors to control the motion of robotic arms with advanced robotic hands that have the same range of motion as the hands of a human.
Traditionally, robots in the kitchen, as well as most everywhere, are programmed by writing code with specific instructions. Instead of code, however, the robo-chef was programmed with captured motions. Chef Anderson wore motion capturing gloves and went through his bisque recipe several times. Each and every movement of the process was captured, and the smoothest and most accurate movements were combined and programmed into the robot.
The process of recording and selecting those movements is not unlike the process of a band recording a song in a studio. The programmers took the best parts from each of Anderson’s performances, put them together, and then smoothed them out to create the best possible representation of the performance.
However unlike a band, or a chef whose actions will be slightly different each time they perform, the robot will be able to carry out the routine the exact same way every single time.
Moley is planning on bringing this kitchen robot to consumers, and it will cost a whopping $15,000 dollars. But you’re not paying fifteen grand just for a bowl of soup. By the time the robot is ready it should be able to make over 2,000 different dishes. The company expects the robot to be available to the public by 2017.
If you’re not enthralled by the prospect of your own personal robot chef, then maybe you will find more interest in what this technology could do for manufacturing.
The precision and accuracy required to make a dish in the kitchen is just as important on the production line. The motion capturing method used to program this soup-making robots, if translated to manufacturing, could bring a new level of sophistication to manufacturing. It could open up the possibility for new applications, or jobs.