At first glance, Moley’s Robotic Kitchen looks like a gizmo from a futuristic film, a toy of excess, a super-expensive gadget for the cooking-averse millionaire. But it could have revolutionary practical consequences for thousands of people.
Launched at the 2015 Hannover Messe industrial expo, it uses two robot arms and hands to reproduce the movements of a human chef, learned from a 3D-recording of a cooking process that maps every individual motion. The prototype demo model is “price on request” and the 2017 MK1001 model will set early adopters back US$72,000. But Moley, which developed the robo-chef with California’s Stanford University and SSSUP in Pisa, Italy – with 2011 BBC Masterchef competition champion Tim Anderson providing the training – hope to drive the price down to US$27,000 for the full-spec robot and to US$15,000 for a simpler model by 2018.
It’s some challenge, but if it comes off, the Robotic Kitchen could become extremely handy for people who struggle to manipulate foodstuffs and/or the complicated cutlery needed to cut and chop, grate and blend fresh produce – these could be paraplegics, someone lacking a limb, or a person whose Parkinson’s has made their hand movements unsteady or hard to govern. A mass-produced machine could compete with a human cook on price, while enabling the user to maintain full control over their diet and eating regime – a recipe for independence.
Robotic Kitchen is No.10 on the Best Atlas projects 2015. Find out what else made the list here.
Chris Moss has been writing on travel, tech, sex, food, art and books for nearly two decades. He co-founded street paper Hecho en Buenos Aires, writes regularly for the Guardian and Telegraph newspapers, and is now writing a thriller set in Andalusia.
Dr Mark Oleynik, Founder