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I don't know if this question is relevant here, or if it should wait for the upcoming Robotics Proposal, but I'll ask it anyway.

Chefs such as Heston Blumenthal and Ferran Adrià are known for appropriating various high tech pieces of equipment from labs and industry, and using them in their kitchens. I was wondering if any of them use robotic systems in the kitchen. I imagine that robotics would allow increased repeatability, reduced cost, and the ability to do things that would be very difficult for a human to do accurately or quickly, such as decorating food in novel ways.

By 'Robot' I mean something which has the ability to make controlled coordinated movements, on at least two axes, and manipulate the external world. This definition would not include things like bread makers or dishwashers, no matter how smart.

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What exaclty do you count as a robot do you mean robot staff or would something more like an intelligent bread maker count? –  Inverted Llama Sep 18 '12 at 11:35
    
@InvertedLlama - Aha, the old "What is a Robot?" definition problem. By robot, I mean something which has an external actuator under position control. E.G. a robot arm, or pick and place machine. Preferably with at least 2 degrees of freedom. I do not mean something like a bread maker or dishwasher. –  Rocketmagnet Sep 18 '12 at 13:13
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I don't think the question is worded particularly well, but I gave it a +1 for interest factor. I can imagine many uses for robotics in a commercial kitchen, but I'm unaware of any actual uses. Are there any? –  Carey Gregory Sep 19 '12 at 1:00
    
@CareyGregory - Thanks. How would you have worded it ? –  Rocketmagnet Sep 19 '12 at 8:53
    
Delete the first paragraph. The question is specific, answerable and directly pertains to cooking, so it's relevant here. Rather than asking if "any of them" use robotics, just ask if there are examples of robotics in the kitchen. Last sentence could go too. And you might want to add your definition of robotics –  Carey Gregory Sep 19 '12 at 14:33
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3 Answers 3

The simple answer is YES! There are a number of chefs currently experimenting with the implementation of robots in their kitchens. There are various technologies and the research is on several fronts, including what I think is most interesting which is controlling nutritional values for specialized diets. Food printing is where I am seeing most chefs focusing their attention.

One of the first examples is actually just a concept design called Cornucopia by Marcelo Coelho: http://web.media.mit.edu/~marcelo/cornucopia/

I started a site to document these developments which are currently unfolding. For example, Paco Morales is experimenting with Food Printing in his kitchen: http://robotsingastronomy.com/food-printing-at-restaurante-paco-morales/

There are several other examples I hope to add to the site soon. It is really an exciting field!

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Great answer! Many thanks. –  Rocketmagnet Dec 3 '12 at 23:00
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You just reminded me of this @kmc

http://kotaku.com/5936818/holy-crap-an-army-of-robots-ready-to-slice-your-noodles/gallery/1

It's not really that more advanced than a food processor but it's in the right vein.

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As a robotics integrator myself, I have met with noodle chefs who are looking to implement robotic arms to knead their dough in series of controllably complex movements designed uniquely (or even pass down from generations) to produce noodle of their "proprietary" texture. And that also allows the owner or the noodle chef to protect their preparation technique with technology without the need to hire and train additional chefs who may steal their technique or receipt.

All in all, I think robotics may help restaurant to mass "manufacture" and offer protection of their recipe at a somewhat higher level.

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That is very interesting, and an application I hadn't even thought of. Yes, I think that kitchen robotics would help lower the cost of high quality restaurant food. –  Rocketmagnet Sep 20 '12 at 8:35
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