This workshop focuses on robotic technologies for food manipulation, especially cooking. Robotics and AI solutions for food is becoming a trend in these days. Some companies including big ones and startups are working in this field. However, food manipulation is still a challenging problem in robotics since we need to unify different technologies. The reasons why we think food manipulation is an interesting robotics domain are as follows:
- Food manipulation involves many challenging problems in robotics. For example, manipulation of non-rigid objects (vegetables, fruits, meats, liquids, powders, etc.), tool use, control of food state (raw/overcooked, shape, viscosity, content of salt/sugar/acidity, etc.), and manipulation of personalized taste. It includes wide technologies, such as motion planning, machine learning, computer vision, robot hands, and non-visual sensing. The important thing is that we need to unify these technologies to achieve the applications, such as cooking, industrial food manipulation, and assistive robots.
- This is a realistic challenge. Recent AI technologies provide solutions to handle non-rigid objects whose dynamics are hard to model. Researchers can access many robotics solutions, such as collaborative robots, vision sensors, and software tools through ROS. There are some examples of cooking robots, such as the cookie-making robot of MIT and the Takoyaki-cooking robot of Connected Robotics Co. We can start from a simplified setup, and gradually increase the difficulties.
- There are social demands. For example, replacing human labor by robots in food factories is needed in aging societies. Food manipulation skills are demanded for assistive robots to support the people in order to increase their QoL.
We organize this workshop in order to gather researchers working in related topics, share knowledge, and discuss open issues that we need to tackle.
We thank Mr Takasuke Sonoyama to provide us a wonderful illustration of robotic food manipulation.