Despite being rather messy in the kitchen, the BakeBot robot wears a chef’s cap, a paper surgical smock as an improvised apron. He knows when the dough is mixed and when it is ready to be put in the oven.
Mario Bollini, a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, programmed a robot from the Willow Garage to mix cake dough, put it in a tray and then in the oven.
BakeBot uses a video camera and a laser scanner to generate a 3D map of the objects on the table. He identifies bowls by color then adds the main ingredients measured in advance. However, its movements, although correct, don’t have the subtlety that is typical to humans.
Daniela Rus, Bollini’s advisor and leader of the Distributed Robotics Lab at MIT, says that despite its not very appetizing aspect the cookie tastes fabulous.
Willow Garage robots have already learned how to prepare pancakes.