Automation of basic cooking process through novel robotic mechanisms and arduino-based systems for data acquisition and supervisory control

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Koripalli, Ujjeev J.
Yihun, Yimesker S.

Robotics has already emerged into so many sectors, including manufacturing industries, military and defense, food and beverage factory to assist, handle, and automate repetitive and most tedious tasks. This thesis is aimed at incorporating innovative robotic systems into the automation of the cooking process. Cooking is a tangled, day–to-day activity that demands multi-tasking, coordination, planning, and intuitive abilities that require effort and time to perform physically in the kitchen. As the human body ages, mental and physical endurance in the body diminish, which affects their ability to cook nutritious, higher effort meals. Additionally, the changes in social structure and economic hardships force younger people to work multiple jobs and long hours for financial security. This also affects their ability to cook nutritious meals, as their time and energy is extremely limited. In this thesis, the cooking process is automated through cost-effective, novel mechanisms and supervisory control systems. The system involves raw material processing, such as the handling, chopping to the desired size, maintaining the desired quantity, and the stirring processes; it is also easily accessible and equipped with a self-cleaning mechanism. All these steps of cooking processes are automated, supervised and controlled through a centralized control system. The sub-cooking automation mechanisms are actuated through DC motors and monitored through a variety of position and force sensors embedded in the system. These motors are controlled through cost-effective PID controllers implemented through an Arduino microcontroller. To maintain the consistency of the quality of food and repeatability of the cooking process, the desired parameters are defined, set, and stored based on a machine learning algorithm that can learn through a demonstration. This algorithm will help to store the process of cooking for any specified recipe, such as the type and quantity of ingredients, the cooking process time, the temperature, and the manipulation / stirring frequency. The stored program and information can be shared with others who are using a similar device to enjoy the same recipe with a predefined quality and quantity of food. The user interacts with the device through a touch pad integrated into the system. In the future, the technology can be extended to work over a network so that people can interact remotely with the device.

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Thesis(M.S) - Wichita State University, College of Engineering, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering