RoboCook
New technologies automate cooking and recipe creation
Tech / 11 Jul 2013
The expansion of the foodie movement continues unabated, with a number of emergent resources catering to restaurant and home chefs alike. There are platforms to simplify recipe selection and preparation, and digital tools for achieving culinary perfection. Most recently, engineers are developing automated cooking technologies that suggest and create perfect dishes for hungry diners, from fast food connoisseurs to astronauts.
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IBM Cyberchef
: IBM’s Jeopardy-winning supercomputer Watson redefined the parameters of artificial intelligence, proving that the technology is not just an infinite repository of facts but is also capable of responding to the nuances of natural language. With its new Taste initiative, IBM Research is adding another element: creativity. Big Blue's yet unnamed “cyberchef” draws from a comprehensive recipe index and a data-based understanding of the molecular makeup of food flavors to propose unexpected ingredient combinations guaranteed to please the palate. This culinary supercomputer may not replace the traditional chef de cuisine altogether, but could make creative—and healthy—cooking more accessible to novices.
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Food in Space
: The popularization of 3-D printing has delivered 3-D printed versions of an SLR camera, a prosthetic duck foot, and, somewhat inexplicably, a robot-tarantula. Soon, the technology may deliver pizza. NASA has invested $125K in the Systems and Materials Research Corporation, where mechanical engineer Anjan Contractor is currently testing a 3-D printed food system that uses additive manufacturing to build meals out of base ingredients. NASA hopes that the food printer will allow astronauts to print “fresh” meals throughout long-duration space missions, but Contractor’s goals are even grander: he predicts that the technology may ultimately end both hunger and food waste.
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Hamburger Robot
: The assembly line setup of most fast food burger joints has likely plateaued in terms of potential efficiency. But San Francisco startup Momentum Machines is primed to shake up the multibillion dollar industry. The company’s aptly named Hamburger Robot makes custom-ordered hamburgers with no human intervention, independently transforming raw ingredients into neatly wrapped bundles. Momentum Machines suggests that the robot will allow restaurant chains to offer their many diners higher quality burgers at lower price points. The end result is unlikely to benefit our country’s collective heart health, but could be a boon to the burger industry’s bottom line.
©The Intelligence Group