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Food Trends

Robots are now learning how to cook breakfast

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This robot knows how to cook a pancake. (YouTube/RoboHow)

Sure, we’ve seen a robots that whip up a great cocktail on a cruise ship, but will they ever be able to make an omelet just right?

A team of European scientists is making a robot that can read the Internet and cook up a stack of pancakes or pizza.

Called PR2, the robot, developed by the team of robotics experts that comprise the group RoboHow, can learn how to cook watching humans while combining that information with how-to guides and videos on the web, reports the MIT Technology Review.

PR2 first scans the text of wikiHow and other sites to acquire the knowledge it needs to complete the cooking task. It also analyzes sophisticated human motions used in culinary tasks (think whisking or flipping). 

Using semantic parsing, (basically the way machines can analyze human language into information it can use), the robot learns everything from how to hold a spatula correctly, to opening a jar or even the right amount of force needed to successfully flip a pancake.

The technology is similar to the way IBM’s supercomputer Watson can analyze many streams of data to make a cancer diagnosis or create fantasy football recommendations. 

Once PR2 successfully learns how to execute a certain task, that digital knowledge is uploaded to a database that all other RoboHow robots can use.  So one day, there could be a fleet of robots as skilled as Michelin-rated chef whipping you up a meal.  

It may even be sooner than you think. RoboHow member Michael Beetz, who is also the head artificial intelligence researcher at the University of Bremen, told Die Welt that these robots may be on the market in just 10 years.

Check out PR2 in action.