The human race's pancake flipping days could soon be over. MIT Technology Review reports that RobotHow — a European robotics research project focused on teaching robots to understand language — has developed a robot chef capable of using instructions to complete complex tasks like flipping pancakes and making pizza.
While things like flipping a pancake might seem simple, for robots it's a challenge to determine how much force and what exact motion is required to complete the action, writes Quartz. The robot called PR2 learns tasks by following instructions on wikiHow. PR2 also observes the tasks being performed by humans. Once the motion is completed successfully, the process is uploaded to a database, so, in theory, other robots can download the same action. RobotHow's goal is to develop technology that aids humans in daily life, meaning that one day all homes could have a personal robot chef trained on RobotHow instructions.
In other robot news, a high-tech bartender named HoLLiE recently mixed 285 cocktails at an event in Berlin, Germany. According to Outer Places, customers ordered drinks via tablet app while the mixologist robot filled glasses and interacted with bar staff, saying phrases like "Bramble Fizz coming up next!" and "Could someone please bring me new glasses?"
This isn't the first time robots have developed culinary expertise. Back in 2010, a research team trained a robotic arm to adeptly flip and catch a pancake through "reinforcement learning." Moley Robotics also recently unveiled a high-tech robot capable of cooking nearly 2,000 recipes. Meanwhile, rising wages are causing the restaurant industry to consider replacing minimum wage workers with computers.