This Tasting Robot Has Been Trained To Taste As It Cooks!


Perhaps the most humane way to go about cooking is to keep tasting what you’re preparing – checking how salty, spicy or sugary what we’re making helps us get a better grasp of the process and the final dish. Cambridge University has gone a step further by training a robot to taste food as it cooks. The latter part is not uncommon – robots and machines have been cooking for years now; but the former has sparked a small revolution. The ‘tasting robot’ has a growing fanbase and for all the right reasons!

What did the robot taste while cooking?

This Tasting Robot Has Been Trained To Taste As It Cooks!
vua YouTube

The robot we are talking about here had already been trained to make egg omelets. All it needed now was the ‘sense’ of taste, provided to it by researchers at Cambridge University. The chef robot tasted nine variations of scrambled eggs and tomatoes at three stages of the chewing process. This was because the taste and texture of a dish changes as we chew. For example, when we bite into a fruit, juices are released. This in turn helps us secrete saliva and digestive enzymes that alter our perception of the taste of the fruit. In the same way, the robot tasted the scrambled eggs and tomatoes at three stages, inferring and accurately accounting for its saltiness. 

How on earth was a robot able to taste food?

This Tasting Robot Has Been Trained To Taste As It Cooks!
vua YouTube

The tasting robot doesn’t have a tongue, but that does not matter. To imitate the taste testing process of humans, the researchers attached a probe to the robot’s arm. This probe acted as a salinity sensor, a tongue, and the chef was able to ‘taste’ the preparations. Once the robot tasted in grid-like fashion, it returned the reading in as little as a few seconds. After that, the chef robot produced taste maps of different dishes. 

What was the need of creating a tasting robot? 

The obvious question when you hear of a robot tasting food is but what was the need?. Clearly, it’s not as if the robot can enjoy or eat the food it’s preparing. But the imitation of the tasting process practiced by humans will in turn enable the tasting robot to be a better chef. Researchers claim that the robot’s ability to taste improves its cooking skills because it can see the difference in food as it’s chewed and its texture changes. Co-author Grzegorz Sochacki also suggests that it’s important the robots are able to taste the food they are involved in the making of. After all, the robot needs to know how well it’s doing. Moreover, the dishes the tasting robot chef prepares can be altered to individual tastes, so it’s given that every single plate of food will turn out tasting perfect. Then that’s one less thing for humans to focus on. Which is why we have assisting robots in the first place.

Who are the foodie researchers behind the tasting robot?

The researchers are members of Cambridge’s Bio-Inspired Robotics Laboratory run by Professor Fumiya Iida of the Department of Engineering. The paper that displayed the results was co-authored by Grzegorz Sochacki and Dr. Arsen Abdulali. The researchers had collaborated with domestic appliances manufacturer Beko.

The researchers hope to make the robot an even better taste-tester in the future, so that it can accurately detect the amount of spice, sugar and other flavors in a dish. 

Did you like reading about this tasting robot? Here’s another chef robot who’s very popular for its omelettes!


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