Robots as chefs?

Robots as chefs?
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Cambridge robot learns recipes but gourmet credentials still to be earned

Restaurant News

Researchers at Cambridge programme robot with eight recipes before it offers one of its own.

While it may seem a world away from creating a three-course gourmet meal from scratch, a robot has been programmed to at least provide the starter – so long as that starter is a salad.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge have been working on the project with a robot chef, the work including monitoring the robot as it watched 16 videos, each of a human demonstrating a recipe. After a time, the robot could identify the recipes, and then prepare and make them itself.

“We wanted to see whether we could train a robot chef to learn in the same incremental way that humans can,” said researcher Grzegorz Sochacki, who admitted the recipes were not complex and were “essentially chopped fruits and vegetables”.

The robot was programmed with a cook book of eight simple salad recipes, coming up with a ninth recipe of its own. In total, the robot recognised the correct recipe 93 per cent of the time, detecting slight changes in each method of preparation.

While Mr Sochacki agreed that more complex food videos that go viral on social media were a little too hard to follow for the robot, he admitted “they [robots] might be able to use sites like YouTube to learn a whole range of recipes”.

Adam Murray
Adam Murray
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