June 10, 2009

Japanese Robo-Chefs Introduced To The Kitchen

New household robots in Japan are not only capable of pouring a drink, but of cleaning up the dishes afterward. Japanese inventers are now taking on the challenge of creating a robot that is even capable of cooking.

The International Food Machinery and Technology Expo in Tokyo this week revealed prototype robotic chefs flipping Japanese pancakes, serving sushi, slicing vegetables and performing various tasks in the kitchen.

Narito Hosomi, president of Toyo Riki that manufactures the pancake-cooking robot said, "We all know that robots can be very useful. We want to take that utility out of the factory so that they can be used elsewhere."

As home to one of the world's fastest aging populations, Japan is experiencing a boom in robotic developments. With the increase in need for assistance for their elderly, a growing number of companies are investing heavily in the future of household robotics, many of which are designed to assist daily life for the elderly as well as the infirm "“ a job that many young people are unwilling to take.

Masanori Hirano of Kyoto-based robot lab Squse, which produced an android sushi waiter, claims that robots also have the potential to relieve some of the stress associated with fine dining establishments by removing the possibility for human error and providing speed and efficiency to many stressful and time consuming duties.

Hirano said, "If a human does this job, it can be stressful. And if so, they can leave the work to the robot."

Japan accounts for almost half the world's 800,000 industrial robots and expects the industry to grow to $10 billion.

Tomio Sugiura, president of Sugiura Kikai Sekkei, which manufactured the vegetable-slicing robot, envisions a robot in every home in the near future.

He says, "Nowadays, almost every family has a car. In the near future, every family would be having a humanoid robot that can help out various things at home."


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