Bakebot, a PR2 robot, was born several months ago in The Distributed Robotics Laboratory of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It’s being trained to bake chocolate chip cookies from scratch, so to speak.
Its trainer is Mario Bollini, a graduate student. He wants to show PR2 how to correctly identify different ingredients, mix them together to form cookie dough, portion dough on cookie sheets, and put cookie sheets with portioned dough in the oven for baking.
It is not clear how long the training period will be, but judging from the following video, PR2 still has a long way to go. By the way, Mario was clever to use dry beans in this video instead of actual ingredients. Watch it for yourself and see what I mean.
In case you and I adopt PR2 to live in our home and bake chocolate chip cookies for us, we will have to measure and place all ingredients on a table. PR2 can visually identify ingredients, butter excluded, by color and size. It will have to rely on its brain; I mean a laser scanner and stereo camera, to locate butter and cookie sheets. I guess that we still have to make sure that the cookies don’t burn. After all, nothing can replace a human touch.
The true impact of Bakebot on the home baking community remains to be seen. I’m confident, however, that I can beat PR2 at its only job, in terms of both time and quality.
Abazorius, Abby (2011, June 6). Cookies, anyone? Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), MIT News, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.