A robotic “chef” is being trained by researchers at the University of Cambridge to taste food and determine if it has been cooked enough while cooking like a human. The robot is being trained to develop the ability to change the taste of food based on the user’s preference. So, does this mean that human cooks are on the verge of extinction as machines copy their work, and possibly, become better cooks as well? The robotic 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 phases of the chewing process, Robot The chefs tasted nine different types of scrambled eggs and tomatoes, creating “taste maps” of the dishes. The findings could aid the development of automated food preparation by robots, which could help them learn what’s good.
the conclusions were published In Frontiers in Robotics and AI Journal.
Researchers say that by mimicking humans’ chewing and tasting processes, robots may someday be able to create food that people will love and that can be modified to suit individual preferences.
Grzegorz Souchacki from Cambridge’s Department of Engineering, the paper’s first author, said That most home cooks are familiar with the concept of “tasting as you go,” which involves checking the flavor balance of a dish during cooking. Souchaki said it is important for robots to be able to taste the food they are cooking if they are to be used for certain aspects of food preparation.
The researchers found that this “taste as you go” approach significantly increased the robot’s ability to judge the saltiness of a dish compared to other electronic tasting techniques that only test a homogenous sample.
Dr Arsene Abdulali, from the Department of Engineering and co-author of the paper, said the act of chewing gives the brain a consistent response while people taste food. Abdulali said he intended to mimic the more realistic chewing and tasting process in a robotic system, which should result in a tastier end product.
A conductance probe at different stages during chewing yielded taste maps for each dish. The researchers attached a conduction probe to a robotic arm, which acts as a salinity sensor, to mimic the human process of chewing and tasting in their robotic chef. They made scrambled eggs and tomatoes with varying amounts of tomatoes and salt in each dish.
The robot tasted dishes in a grid-like pattern using a conduction probe, producing readings in a matter of seconds.
To simulate the texture change caused by chewing, the scientists mixed the egg mixture and the robot tested the plate once again. Taste maps of each dish were created using different readings at different chewing points.
Their findings showed that the robots were far better at assessing saltiness than other electronic tasting methods, which are generally time-consuming and give only a single reading.
Researchers hope to improve the robotic chef in the future so that it can taste a variety of foods and improve sensory abilities to detect sweet or greasy foods, for example.