JST ERATO’s Design UI Project yields yet another fun experiment: Cooky, a robot trio that help cook a meal for you. The same people are responsible for Foldy (the laundry folding robot) and Walky (the iPhone touch gesture interface), which we covered earlier. While I’m not quite convinced the system makes cooking easier or less time-consuming, there’s no question that Cooky makes things more fun. You could open a restaurant with these little guys and charge extra for the performance art.
We propose a cooking system that operates in an open environment. The system cooks a meal by pouring various ingredients into a boiling pot on an induction heating cooker and adjusts the heating strength according to the user’s instructions. We then describe how it successfully functions in a shared space with the user. First, we use small mobile robots instead of built-in arms to save space, improve flexibility and increase safety. Second, we use detachable visual markers to allow the user to easily configure the real-world environment. Third, we provide a graphical user interface to display detailed cooking instructions to the user. We hope insights obtained in this experiment will be useful for the design of other household systems in the future.