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Science-fiction stories have the robots of the future doing everything from piloting spacecraft to curing ailing humans, but taste-testing usually isn't mentioned as one of the technological advances. But here in the real world, there might soon be robots that help prepare automated or semi-automated food by making sure it tastes right.
University of Cambridge researchers have teamed up with the appliance manufacturer Beko to create robot chefs that check the saltiness levels of food throughout the human chewing process. In one experiment, a robot tasted nine samples of a simple egg and tomato dish at three points during the typical chewing process. It provided "taste maps" to show how each serving tasted at each point.
Cambridge's Grzegorz Sochack explained that for robots to help cook food in the future, they need to do it the way real human chefs do it now. "Most home cooks will be familiar with the concept of tasting as you go – checking a dish throughout the cooking process to check whether the balance of flavors is right," he said. Future robots are expected to expand their palate to include oily and sweet differentiations.
- "Robot" comes from the Czech word "robota," which translates to "hard work" or "drudgery."
- Because of an anticipated lack of care workers, Japan is spending tens of millions of dollars toward the development of robots that can care for the elderly.
- Author Isaac Asimov provided the now-famous "Three Laws of Robotics" in his 1942 short story "Runaround."