Cambridge University Trains Robot To Make Omelette

by Gizel Menezes
Cambridge University Trains Robot To Make Omelette

How do you like to take your eggs? Scrambled, poached or made by a robot?

Well, if you’re wondering what am I saying, read on. Researchers at the Cambridge University have trained a robotic arm to prepare an omelette. From cracking the egg to plating the finished dish, the robot does it all, making us wonder if robots could become the future of kitchens.

Cambridge University Trains Robot To Make Omelette

According to Dr Fumiya Iida from Cambridge’s Department of Engineering, who conducted this training and research, cooking is a ‘qualitative’ task. This means that human taste, which differs from person to person, plays a very important role in cooking. So the team of researchers at the University not only trained the robot to prepare an omelette, but also ensured that the subjective matter of taste was taken in account while making it.

The result? Well, the robot arm carried out all the functions seamlessly. From cracking the egg open in a bowl, to adding salt and pepper and even whisking; it nicely tipped the whisked eggs into a frying pan and stirred them, until it was ready to plate up. All of it, effortless and smooth.

Now coming to the important question. How did it taste? According to the team, the omelette tasted ‘great and it was much better than expected’.

robot makes omelette
Image Courtesy: Cambridge University

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Robot Takes Into Account Your Taste While Making Omelette

As per Iida, the robot had to take in a variety of factors to produce a consistent end product, suitable for all palettes. For this purpose, researchers used machine learning data. Data from a study of volunteers was taken into account along with their reaction to different omelettes cooked in a variety of ways. The researchers also made use of a statistical tool, called Bayesian Inference, to squeeze out as much information as possible from these limited amount of data samples.

Reportedly, similar such experiments have been carried out in the past, but none have been optimized for the subjective nature of taste. Since making an omelette is an easy as well as difficult task, the researchers thought it would be an ideal test to improve the abilities of a robot chef. And no surprises y’all, the robot did it.

This study has demonstrated that machine learning can be used to obtain quantifiable improvements in food optimization. And also the fact that these could be easily extended to train robotic chefs. Yes, further studies need to be carried out but this is definitely something that we can look forward to!

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