Cooking simulator adds a sense of touch to virtual food

A project from the Tokyo Institute of Technology features a force-feedback frying pan that lets amateur chefs feel the action.

Learning how to cook can be a frustrating experience. This should not be the case. Aside from an occasional overcooked steak, the process should be an enjoyable one. And considering that one gets to eat the results of one's labor, the aftermath isn't too bad either. (Unless that steak is really overdone.) Understanding that learning how to cook can be thought of as a game, a research team at the Tokyo Institute of Technology has created a cooking simulator designed to give novice cooks instantaneous feedback.

As a novel approach to culinary education, the system is composed of a force-feedback frying pan that works in conjunction with displayed images of ingredients. As users move and shuffle the frying pan about, the virtual foods move as directed, even changing colors to illustrate their doneness. The system even mimics the weight of the ingredients allowing for cooks to get a feel for cooking without ever touching any real food.

Combining a "rigid-body physics engine library and a heat conduction simulator" may not be tech found in a common go-to countertop appliance just yet, but the team envisions a different future. Perhaps one day the system could be used in the real world (with real food) not only to alert cooks as to the doneness of an ingredient, but how done something may be in a few minutes' time. As it constantly calculates temperature changes, as well as monitor motion, it could conceivably guide users through the cooking process from beginning to end, resulting in a perfectly cooked meal that would be as fun to make as it would be delicious.

Meanwhile, as the system is still one that deals with virtual food, the folks at the Tokyo Institute of Technology have kindly created a robot bartender to help with the virtual drinks.

Via DigInfo TV