New high-tech prototypes offer a window into the future of shopping and cooking. Here are two shopping and cooking innovations that might get you imagining the day when you checkout without scanning a single item or walk into a restaurant and a robot is behind the counter chopping salad.
First up, a scanning software from Brain Corporation that recognizes items on a tray and “checks out” customers without the need for barcodes, scanners or even packaging. It’s currently being tested in at Donq Bakery in Japan and is designed to recognize items by shape and color. The most important feature, perhaps, is the built in feedback loop — if it cannot recognize an item it asks a user (maybe a “cashier,” who’s overseeing several cash registers) to help it match the item against a database and then learns to apply that match going forward, i.e., it “learns.”
Another window into the future of cooking and restaurants comes courtesy of robotics. Yes, robots. Researchers from the Korean Institute of Science and Technology’s Center for Intelligent Robotics have been developing household helper robot named CIROS. The robot uses a 3D IR sensor to recognize common household objects and a 12-piece microphone array for speech recognition. As the technology improves, particularly around fine motor skills, you get demos like this of a robot cutting up food. A restaurant may always have a human chef (we hope) but can you imagine a kitchen full of robots doing the prep work and clean up? Do you want to?