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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Robots in the Kitchen

According to a market survey conducted by Persuadable Research Corporation in January 2012 68% of participants think domestic robots would be useful. Furthermore, the survey indicated that nearly half of that 68% would even take out a loan to buy one in the future! Participants of the survey stated that help moving heavy objects was at the top of the list. Other robot-worthy tasks included  providing home security,  cleaning windows, washing floors and dishes and doing laundry. Some envisioned a domestic bot a bit more like a personal assistant; something to remind them about errands and meetings.
According to the survey, a robot’s voice should be rather neutral, not sounding either too masculine or feminine; they should  be round and colourful as opposed to metallic and square and there was also interest in allowing for a certain degree of personal design for domestic robots, similar to how select a certain model of a car.
Robots in the Kitchen 
Roboticists all over the world are working hard to develop reliable and affordable robotic companions that might take over household tasks in the future. Some of the most promising projects focus on kitchen tasks including object identification and manipulation, gripping, navigation and communication. 
Robots making Pancakes
In October 2010 two robots from the Munich-based cluster of excellence CoTeSys (Cognition for Technical Systems) demonstrated their capabilities in a demo kitchen. James, a PR2 Beta Program robot, opened and closed cupboards and drawers, removed the pancake mix from the refrigerator, and handed it over to TUM Rosie, a robot deployed in the Assistive Kitchen environment of the Intelligent Autonomous Systems Group at the Technical University Munich, TUM.  Rosie cooked and fliped the pancakes, and then delivered them back to James. Check out the video below. 
Robotic Body Thinking
In 2010 researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT) demonstrated a robot called ARMAR-III that uses its body to learn how to think. The robot was developed for the PACO-PLUS research project and was able to learn how to interact with objects by touching them without needing to rely on a massive database of instructions for every object it might encounter. The video presentation below shows a fully integrated and autonomous humanoid robot performing complex manipulation and grasping tasks in a kitchen environment. 

At the International Next-Generation Robot Fair 2008 in Osaka the two-armed robot Motoman SDA10 robot has demonstrated its cooking abilities. It even could take orders from customers using speech recognition technology and then create the dish using standard kitchen utensils. It even fliped the pancake-like dish.
In 2007 Waseda University of Tokyo demonstrated the result of four years of hard work using cutting edge technology gathered from more than 40 Robotics and Information Technology professors at the University of Tokyo, the multi-tasking maid robot named Twendy-One. The robot has capabilities to support making breakfast with kitchen tools; picking up a loaf of bread using a tong grasped with a multi-fingered hand and placing it onto a plate.

1 comment:

Gunther Cox said...

Very Cool! I must agree that the enthusiasm of robotics is spreading rapidly around the world. I cannot weight to see what the future holds.