The concept of using robots to assist in the kitchen in restaurants is not new. They can be used to automate time-consuming repetitive tasks that human chefs could use for more important tasks. This concept has spread to chain restaurants such as Chipotle, which is collaborating with Miso Robotics to automate the production of tortilla chips, according to CNBC. Wing Zone is another restaurant chain that has collaborated with the Miso Robotics company to use robots to help cook wings in their restaurants. Most of these projects are still in the early stages, but the concept is gaining traction.
As a result, researchers hope to create more helpful and efficient robot chefs. The process of tasting as you go is a very important task that chefs use while cooking. This allows one to truly perfect the flavor profile of a dish, which a robot chef cannot do. However, Cambridge University researchers have developed a robot arm that can accurately detect salt in food.
How a robot tastes food
Developing robots that can taste food is difficult because taste involves many different factors. The fact that taste changes as we chew our food is especially significant. Until now, researchers have been unable to replicate this process in a robot. According to The Guardian, Cambridge researchers first created a robot that was trained to cook scrambled eggs with tomatoes. The robot also has a sensor that allows it to taste the salt content, or salinity, of the dish as it cooks. This enables it to cook the eggs at the ideal salt levels.
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After preparing the dish, researchers blended it together to simulate the chewing process. The robot was then programmed to test the dish again after the food had been chewed to determine salinity levels. Aside from determining whether food is too salty, the robot can also determine whether additional ingredients are required and how the dish should be cooked. It’s a huge step forward in the development of robot chefs, and it paves the way for a future in which robots can test even more aspects of taste, such as sweetness, sourness, and oiliness (via The Guardian). This could enable robots to cook food tailored to individual preferences, creating the ideal dish based on specific taste indicators.