The year was 2015. Four hungry students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, USA, were wondering if they could build automaton that cooked them nutritious meals at the push of a button. Almost three years later, on May 3, the MIT graduates have opened Spyce, the world’s first restaurant with a robotic kitchen in Boston.
The kitchen, as you can see in the video above, comprises seven autonomous cooking woks – automaton that can cook, for all intents and purposes. All a customer has to do is choose one of the bowl-based meals on the touchscreen kiosk and customise their order if they want to. The robotic kitchen immediately gathers the ingredients – perfectly measured – and starts cooking.
The woks use magnetic induction to heat the food, according to Engadget, and automatically rinse themselves after preparing every order. They are also tilted so the customers can watch their food be cooked in the open kitchen.
“Basically, our goal is to use automation to provide wholesome, high-quality, delicious meals at a very affordable price,” Luke Schlueter, the lead mechanical engineer at Spyce, told the MIT newspaper. Until May 3, the robotic kitchen was only functional at MIT’s own dining halls, for whom the mecha-woks were originally designed.
However, the kitchen is not entirely automated. “We didn’t want your food to come out of some random box,” said Schlueter. So the restaurant hired human staff who finish the meal by garnishing it and working on the presentation, and also employees who chop and prepare the ingredients.
Here’s how the system worked earlier in the MIT dining hall, where it could serve five different meals.