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Cooking simulator lets you fry up a virtual meal


August 29, 2012

The cooking simulator being developed at the Tokyo Institute of Technology lets users cook up a virtual meal

The cooking simulator being developed at the Tokyo Institute of Technology lets users cook up a virtual meal

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I have to admit I find cooking a bit of a chore. As a result, I'm not very good at it and avoid it if at all possible. That’s why at first glance, the idea of a cooking simulator doesn’t really grab me. But with many others in Gen X and Gen Y also lacking the skills to cook up anything but the most basic of meals, my kitchen-novice brethren and I might ultimately benefit from the cooking simulator being developed by researchers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology.

The simulator consists of a fry pan and spatula with force feedback capabilities, and a half-mirror display on which the three-dimensional virtual food can be viewed. The force feedback gives the pan extra weight as food is added and provides the tactile feeling of moving the ingredients with the virtual spatula of when shaking the pan back and forth.

By combining a rigid-body physics engine library and a heat conduction simulator, the system can calculate the heat transfer from the pan to the virtual food and the amount of moisture evaporation. This enables it to change the surface texture of the ingredients and display the changes in the food as it cooks – protein in the meat going from red to brown and vegetables darkening, for example.

"We'd like to develop this system further, so it's helpful in actual cooking at home,” one of the system’s developers told DigInfo. “If it could be linked to a system that tells you, ‘In five minutes, your food will look like this, and in ten minutes, it will look like this. Which would you prefer?, so this system could really help with cooking."

Now if they could integrate some game into the system, the Tokyo Institute of Technology team might really be onto something that could get me into the kitchen willingly.

The DigInfo video below shows the cooking simulator in action.

Source: DigInfo

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

Cooking virtual food, a new low-cal diet!

Shawn Corey

The easiest way to learn to cook is to buy a good cook book and follow the recipe exactly.

Doug Doyle

The one thing a book or this sim cannot do is show you how something is supposed to taste. Go take some lessons or get a friend to show you a few things. The basics are just not that hard and anyone who isn't capable of basic cooking deserves to slowly starve for lack of motivation or suffer the consequences of takeout every day. :-)

At least with a cook book even if you screwed up at least you would be trying.

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