Moley’s robotic kitchen first burst onto the scene in 2015, wowing audiences at CES Asia with its science fiction-levels of cooking automation. Now after more than five years of development, the Moley is finally going on sale. But the kitchen of tomorrow is not going to be cheap.
It’s probably best to set the stage first. Getting a Moley requires a lot more work than just bolting a robotic arm above your existing stove. It’s an entirely integrated system of appliances, cupboards, a touchscreen, storage containers, pots, pans, utensils, a protective screen and yes, two articulating arms with robotic hands. The Moley basically takes up one entire wall of a kitchen.
Once it’s installed, or more accurately, built, into your kitchen, there’s a little bit of set up for a person to do. Ingredients needs to go into special containers and identified in the system so the robot knows where to retrieve them. Utensils and pots are placed in special storage areas that slide out of view when not in use. But once all that’s done, the digital smarts and robot take over.
Using the built-in touchscreen, the user selects from one of 5,000 (and growing) recipes. A clear, protective screen drops down and the two robotic arms slide out from their storage on a rail up above to start grabbing the pots, pans and utensils it needs. The robot can fill a pot with water in the sink, turn on the induction burner and then, using sensors and cameras, retrieve all the ingredients it needs to make the dish. Moley will even let you know when you’re running low on a particular ingredient.
The robotic arm’s movements even have some pedigree. Tim Anderson, a former BBC Master Chef winner, “trained” the robot’s movements by recording his techniques in 3D, which were then translated into specific algorithms for the machine. It’s not hard to imagine Moley enlisting other chefs down the road and offering different downloads so you could have “Nigella Lawson,” or “Marcus Samuelsson” cooking your meals.
Listen. It’s a super complex piece of high-technology and perhaps the best way to grok it is to see it in action in this in-depth launch video that Moley put out this week:
The Moley kitchen is also a hybrid of sorts. If you prefer to do the cooking, you can keep the robot in its closet and do all the work yourself. Though, at these prices, I imagine you’d want to put that robot to work.
Moley is targeting both residential and commercial kitchens with its launch. Make that, very expensive residential kitchens. A base Moley kitchen without the robotic arms will cost you £128,000 (~ $173,000 USD) and a unit with the robotic arms will cost £248,000 (~ $335,000 USD).
Moley CEO and Founder, Mark Oleynik, told The Spoon in a phone interview this week that the first customer will be receiving their Moley robotic kitchen next year. (No further details were offered).
Oleynik also put the high price of the Moley into some perspective by likening it to a dishwasher. When those were first introduced, they were expensive and most people didn’t think they were necessary. Now dishwashers are affordable, mainstream and play a key role in our kitchen lives.
Oleynik also envisions a future where his robotic kitchen can help the elderly age in place. With just a few taps on a screen, people of any age can have a homecooked, fresh meal prepared on the spot. It’s the same vision Sony has for its take on the future of kitchen robotics.
Samsung is also working on an articulating arm-based kitchen robot, and Oleynik welcomes the competition with a philosophy that a rising tide lifts all robotic kitchen boats.
The Moley is available for purchase now, and if any Spoon reader does get one, may we recommend pairing it with the WineCab Wine Wall robotic sommelier for the ultimate in futuristic dining.