AI enabled smart kitchens like smart technology are not a concept of the future; it’s here right now. More and more, we’re seeing a massive increase in the reliance on innovative technology, all designed to make our lives easier. Whether it’s intelligent locks, voice-enabled lights or coffee machines that pour you a piping cup of brain juice every day at precisely 7.30 am, it’s clear that smart technology is a necessity and here to stay.
With the demand comes the supply. A Fortune Business Insights study claims by 2026, the smart home industry will be worth over $600 billion — an industry worth $80 billion as recently as 2018.
Today, smart devices have found their way inside all four walls of our homes and lightened the burden. But most of the intrigue comes down to AI-enabled smart kitchens and what impact — if any — smart devices can have in the kitchen, in particular.
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What are smart kitchens?
An AI-enabled smart kitchen comprises smart appliances designed to make life easier, with the bonus of potentially reducing energy bills. Today, these smart devices are remotely controlled and monitored through mobile apps and voice commands, adding an extra layer of convenience to everyday life by reducing time and effort.
In its most simplistic form, an AI-enabled kitchen features smart devices to automate tasks for you.
Regardless of the room, the basic principle of smart technology involves connecting to the Internet of Things (IoT) technology, WiFi or Bluetooth. As smart devices connect to other technology, it’s effortless to control them through apps or platforms like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
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But it stretches far beyond a smart oven or a smart dishwasher. As impactful as they are, the future of smart kitchens revolves around robotics, not just voice-controlled devices. Now, plenty of technology firms are developing robots that take control over arguably the biggest chore in a kitchen — cooking and cleaning.
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The robotics involved are designed to eliminate tedious tasks nobody enjoys doing. It’s why we have robotic vacuums that clean the home without us lifting a finger. The same goes for the kitchen, where those cooking spend a good chunk of their days.
Everyone is aware of the struggles involved when deciding on what to cook. It’s an even bigger challenge when you browse the refrigerator to determine what to make before giving up and settling on a takeout. But now, artificial intelligence has found its way into smart fridges to help you decide what to make for dinner based on what’s currently in the refrigerator and intending to reduce food waste.
Samsung is leading the charge with Food AI. It uses a camera to look inside the refrigerator and recommends a range of recipes that utilize the ingredients available. The AI aspect learns what you like, dislike, your dietary restrictions and more, so you get curated relevant recipes. It also makes decisions based on recipes you save and seasonal ingredients depending on the weather.
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According to Whisk, who originally founded this innovation, the average person in the US wastes 238 pounds of food per year, equating to around 21% of the food they buy and a yearly cost of $1,800 per year. Just think how much money can be saved in the long run by adding an innovation like this into a kitchen, ensuring you only buy the food you need and will use.
Adding a smart fridge like this to your AI kitchen means you can reduce food waste to make your cooking experience smarter and simpler.
Robotics for cooking
Arguably the most labor-intensive task in any kitchen is the actual cooking aspect. AI and robotics excel in this area, too.
London-based Moley Robotics is at the forefront of this charge. Those willing to spend nearly $300,000 can level up their kitchens of the future by attaching two robotic arms on the rails connected to the ceiling, which are long enough to reach the oven and hobs.
The best part? This robotics device can cook over 5,000 different recipes. All you need to do is select one from a screen, add the ingredients in the built-in containers and watch it perform its magic.
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A robotics device like this can control equipment such as the oven. It can pick up and put down equipment. It can stir, whisk, flip and also clean after itself. In terms of development, the robot was programmed to copy the movement of Tim Anderson, the 2011 winner of the BBC’s MasterChef competition. Eventually, the robotic arms were able to mimic every single action based on the professional chef’s movements.
That means the robotic arms’ skills could be far greater than an average person based on who the robotic arms have mimicked. This type of computerized device is where smart kitchens are heading.
Source: YouTube | Video copyright CNET
Source: YouTube | Moley Robotics
Robotics for cleaning
The same level of robotic and AI focus is on the cleaning aspect as it is on the cooking. With busier lives and shifting priorities, not everybody has the time to spend hours upon hours cooking in a kitchen and spending even more time cleaning. That doesn’t just go for the dishes either, but the general upkeep of appliances, counters and more.
Source: YouTube | Video Copyrights DW
The Moley Robotics innovation mentioned above is one example that does cater to this. Although the primary focus of the robotic arms is to cook by mimicking a chef’s movements, its automation and robotic capabilities means cleaning isn’t a complex realm for it to dive in.
The team behind this innovation has designed and programmed the robotic arms so that it can complete complex movements such as whisking and flipping, meaning it’s capable of cleaning up after itself without any complaints, too. That means it doesn’t require a human to come in and clean up after itself.
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You can then combine this with the favored smart devices, such as smart dishwashers and dryers that require minimal effort other than loading up the appliance. Then there are the robotic vacuums that continue to become more and more innovative, with some specializing in kitchen flooring rather than carpets requiring a push of a button or voice activation to clean up the entire kitchen.
Combining the cooking and cleaning aspect with the use of robotics, AI and smart devices, there’s a time where humans won’t be required to be in the kitchen at all to do the heavy lifting.
Humans in a smart kitchen
At the rate technology and robotics are infiltrating the kitchen in disruptive ways, soon there will be a time where humans aren’t required in a smart kitchen to ensure everything is running smoothly. Combining the likes of ingredients, robotics, smart appliances, innovative cooking methods and technology that hasn’t even been invented yet, there will be a time when the role of humans in the kitchen will diminish.
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Appliances such as air fryers are taking the cooking world by storm. Some you can control with an app, meaning humans don’t need to continue checking in and hovering around the kitchen. A ping will tell them when they’re needed, giving them valuable time back to focus on other tasks.
Smart refrigerators can let you know what ingredients you’re running short on and can spit out multiple recipes based on preferences. Another innovation many have already adopted within their kitchens is a built-in vacuum cleaner, where humans no longer have to get on their hands and knees to clean every bit of mess.
Instead, built-in vacuum cleaners can instantly sweep up any mess you sweep towards it, making it an effortless chore compared to strenuous activity like physically using a vacuum or mopping the floors regularly.
Smart water dispensers, coffee machines, dishwashers, dryers, ovens, lighting, food processors, air fryers, trash cans, smokers, stirrers — there isn’t a single piece of technology available for an smart kitchen that requires a human to dedicate any time in being in or around the kitchen.
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Soon, there will come the day where the kitchen — the heart of the home — is used to enjoy time and not spent standing near the oven or the sink.
Regardless of which room in the home you’re focusing on, the purpose of an artificially intelligent kitchen is to simplify or even eliminate unpleasant and tedious household tasks. Why exert energy to use a vacuum whereas a robotic vacuum can offer the same — if not better — results? Why go through the hassle of trying to make the lawnmower work for the sixth time in the month when mowing robots make it effortless?
With AI and robotics on the rise and available in many forms today, the only thing you need to focus on is completing small, effortless tasks robots haven’t yet learned to do but will at great speed. In a kitchen, this could be loading up the dishwasher or drying the cups to put back into the cupboards.
One day you’ll spend less time in the kitchen, and instead focus on the essential things in your life. The more advanced this technology becomes, the more it’ll support you in the long run.