Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Virtual Reality Cooking Simulator

When I was a kid, my parents had each kid cook dinner once a week. We could cook whatever we wanted, just find a recipe in a cookbook, write the ingredients on the shopping list, and take your best shot. In theory I think the idea was well intended, but as a kid without any training in the culinary arts, I was ill-prepared to cook a good meal. Long story short, I "cooked" hot dogs boiled in beer. Everyone hated it, the house stunk, we had a pizza delivered, and I was relieved of cooking duty in return for an extra night of clean up per week. If only there was a fun, immersive, and comprehensive method to train kids to cook...

Say hello to the interactive 3D cooking simulator, featuring a force feedback frying pan and spatula, being developed by a research group at the Tokyo Institute of Technology.
3D Cooking Training Simulator
Tokyo Institute of Technology's Cooking Simulator
The interactive frying pan interface includes a haptic feedback component that seeks to recreate the feeling of real-world cooking. The weight of the contents in the frying pan is conveyed back to the user in addition to the tactile feeling of the ingredients being moved and cooked in the pan. The simulator combines a real-time heat conduction simulator and physics rigid body engine, that collectively calculate the heat transferred from the pan to the virtual ingredients and displays the visual changes as they occur.

Tokyo Institute of Technology's Cooking Simulator
The simulator calculates moisture rate evaporation in the ingredients as the temperature rises, and displays visual cues such as proteins turning from red to brown, or vegetables getting darker. This training simulator, while unique, is a great example of how simulated training could help lead to less food waste and cooking related injuries, or at a minimum fewer homes that smell like hot dogs boiled in beer.


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