robot chef cambridge university 1651654614800

This robot chef is taught to ‘taste’ food while cooking, just like a human, to determine if it is properly seasoned

A robot “chef” is being trained by Cambridge University researchers to taste food and find out if it tastes good enough when cooked like a human. The robot is also being trained to develop the ability to change the taste of food based on user preferences. So, does this mean that human chefs are on the verge of extinction as machines mimic the work they do, and perhaps, even superior cooks? The robot chef was designed by researchers at the University of Cambridge to taste and grade a sample plate of scrambled eggs and tomatoes at different stages of chewing.

In three different stages of the chewing process, the robot chef tasted nine types of scrambled eggs and tomatoes, producing “taste maps” of recipes. These researches can help in developing automated meal preparation by robots, helping them to know what tastes good.

Findings Published Frontiers in the Journal of Robotics & AI.

By simulating human chewing and tasting processes, researchers say, robots could one day make food that people like and adapt it to personal preferences.

Grzegorz Sochaki, first author of the paper, from the Cambridge Engineering Department Said Most home cooks are familiar with the concept of “tasting when you go”, which involves checking the taste balance of the dish while cooking. Sochaki said that if robots are to be used for certain aspects of food preparation, being able to taste what they are cooking is crucial.

Researchers have found that this “taste when you go” approach significantly enhances the robot’s ability to quickly and accurately determine salinity, compared to other electronic testing technologies that only test the same sample.

Dr Arsen Abdullali, co-author of the Department of Engineering and Paper, said chewing gives people a continuous view of the brain while tasting food. Abdullali said they intend to simulate a more realistic chewing and tasting process in the robotic system, resulting in a delicious end product.

Readings from the conduction probe at various stages during chewing provided flavor maps for each recipe. The researchers added a conductivity probe to their robot chef that acts as a salinity sensor to simulate the human process of chewing and tasting. They made a variety of tomatoes in each dish and eggs and tomatoes scrambled with salt.

The robot tasted the dishes in a grid-like pattern using a conduction probe, producing readings in seconds.

To mimic the deformation caused by chewing, the scientists mixed the egg mixture and tested the robot once again on the plate. Taste maps of each dish were created using different readings at different points of chewing.

Their research reveals that robots are much better at estimating salinity than other electronic testing methods, which are usually time consuming and provide only a single reading.

Researchers hope to improve the robot chef in the future so that it can taste a variety of foods and improve its sensory abilities to detect, for example, sweet or greasy food.

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