The much-anticipated Moley robotic kitchen was showcased this week at CES 2021 (Consumer Electronics Show), after years of it being talked up. Created by Moley Robotics, the system features a dexterous robot integrated into a luxury kitchen, that prepares freshly-cooked meals at the touch of a button, programmed to match the cooking style of master chef Tim Anderson.
However, it comes at a cost, and then some: a mere £248,000 – around R5-million. A year earlier, the price was expected to be a quarter of that amount, suggesting it has been far more complex to bring to market than expected.
At the core of the new technology are two robotic arms featuring fully-articulated ‘hands’, developed in collaboration with world-leading German robotic company Schunk, Moley’s exclusive hand partner. The product of 11 development cycles, the robotic arms reliably reproduce the movements of human hands. This means the robot kitchen can retrieve ingredients from the smart fridge, adjust hob temperature, use the sink to fill pans and pour, mix and plate up just as a human cook would. The robot even cleans up after itself — without complaint!
The Moley Robotics system does not cook like a machine — it captures human skills in motion. Tim Anderson, culinary innovator and winner of the prestigious BBC Master Chef competition (2011) played an integral role in the kitchen’s development, with his cooking techniques 3-D recorded then translated into digital movement using bespoke algorithms.
Tim and fellow chefs Nicole Pisani and Andrew Clarke have created 30 dishes to showcase the systems’ capabilities at launch, with new recipes added every month. Ultimately, Moley customers will be able to select from a digital menu with over 5000 choices, as well having the option to record their customised dishes using Moley’s innovative recipe-creator software tool.
The Moley Robotic Kitchen in operation
The Moley Kitchen can be used by two humans and the robot. Bespoke stainless-steel cookware and utensils have been design to be comfortable to hold as well as providing a precision fit in robotic hands.
The Moley Kitchen uses a combination of sensors and optical cameras to map ingredients, cookware and utensils within the kitchen. Subtle markers on handles and pan lids help the robot orientate the stainless-steel pots, pans, and utensils. The robot’s optical system can even spot dropped food and clean up before and after cooking. An integrated UV lamp ensures the cooking area is kept germ free.
The bespoke kitchen is available in an array of styles. Customers can specify from a wide range of premium marbles, onyx and Corian worktops and select kitchen cabinets in finishes to match the rest of their home decor and styling tastes.
Each kitchen is also available in two formats: as a smart Internet of Things (IoT) enabled kitchen (known as “R”), with or without the integrated robot. The smart kitchen includes an IoT refrigerator and storage which flag when ingredients are about to expire, or are running low, professional-grade induction hob, oven and sink.
The smart kitchen can easily be upgraded at a later date to include the fully-automated package (known as “X”) with the state-or-the-art robot arms and dexterous hands mounted on the integrated three-axis rail system.
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