The kitchen is one of the spaces that interests the inhabitant of a connected house (Smarthome) the most. It is true that we live in a time of changes where digital transformation is increasingly present in many areas. The IoT (from “Internet of Things”) in particular is taking more weight in our day-to-day routines and there are fewer spaces in which it is not yet implemented.
We Spaniards are that kind of people that, while eating, we talk about food; after eating, we talk about food; and in between we talk about food. On a personal level, I spend the mornings waiting for lunch and after lunch, for dinner time. But, who has not run into that friend who, in the middle of a conversation, drops “hopefully one day science and technology would advance so much as to take a pill and be fed for the whole day“? And I throw my hands to my head calling him crazy and saying that I hope that never happens.
That is not incompatible with the fact that I firmly believe technology can help or improve our lives.
In haute cuisine, chefs use industrial ovens that cost tens of thousands of euros and require very delicate maintenance or constantly fight against the food deterioration… In the kitchen of the future we will find highly sophisticated IoT devices that facilitate many of the tasks that are carried out, such as controlling food and its storage, helping in the kitchen, or detecting energy leaks that affect the consumption of gas, water or electricity.
The Azkoyen group (Spanish technology multinational based in Navarra) has developed TentoBOX, the first restaurant 4.0 in the market. An ecosystem with Intel technology that provides “intelligence 4.0” to the TentoBox module, the IoT of healthy food, connecting it with the e-commerce module, the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) of the Tento factory and the means of payment. At the moment it is still in pilot phase but will be extended to new points in the second half of 2018.
With the motto “Culinary Excellence powered by technology”, the commitment of a team of MIT students, the Spyce restaurant, has been presented. This restaurant is one of the first establishments where the dishes are prepared by robots, and they are not exactly easy recipes. Its headquarters in Boston, headed by chef Daniel Boulud, produces healthy menus combined with haute cuisine but suitable for daily consumption. The project is aimed to university students and their menus only cost € 7.
It is true that we have already seen other robots in the kitchen, as it is the case of Flippy, the first robotic arm that promised to prepare 300 burgers every hour autonomously and was fired on his first day of work for not meeting expectations. It seems that after a year of testing, he is back in shape and for this reason, CaliBurguer has decided to incorporate it into his permanent staff. This robot is equipped with 3D cameras, sensors, a thermal camera and a regular one, and is powered by an artificial intelligence platform and Machine Learning that makes it improve over time.
But the difference, in the case of Spyce, is that we are not talking about automating simple processes such as flipping the hamburger like Flippy does (without underestimating it, of course). The robots in this case are able to prepare complete menus in record time, allowing to generate greater margins for the business through the automation of the kitchen. Once the order arrives to the kitchen, an ingredient delivery system picks them up from the fridge, separates them into portions in the correct sizes and then sends them to a robotic wok, where they are cooked at 232 degrees Celsius. When the recipe is finished, that same robot dumps the contents into a bowl ready to serve.
Another example that we can take home, is the Californian Palate Home project, with its Smart Grill, which promises a “sous-vide” cuisine (a method of haute cuisine, popularized in the 1960s, where food they cook in sealed bags in relatively low temperature water baths) with ease for the consumer. The object in question is called Cinder, controlled through an iPad and develops a precision cooking technique on an electric grill to cook meat, fish or vegetables. This grill includes a software interface that allows you to set parameters designed to cook high quality food, as they quote on their website “what you would expect from a meal of $ 750, in a restaurant with a Michelin star”.
How many times have we said that phrase, “That’s tasty, but not like my mother’s.” Can you imagine that with all these tools we could find the exact formula to cook like our mothers or grandmothers?