NUST MISIS engineers together with Karfidov Lab have developed a working prototype of a vending machine for preparing healthy dishes.
The device cooks dishes from vegetables and cereals in 30-60 seconds, which are suitable for those who live a healthy lifestyle or suffer from allergies and other specific diseases.
Commissioned by the AFM private company, NUST MISIS engineers, together with the Karfidov Lab design bureau, have developed a prototype of the Salatomat vending machine, which can become part of the healthy food infrastructure. The device is loaded with 16 basic ingredients — vegetables, cereals, potatoes, noodles — and 20 dressings and toppings (sauces, cheese, nuts). With this set, Salatomat can cook up to 1000 different dishes. The user can also create an individual combination of products.
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“The process of cooking by the robot begins with the preparation of products – thermal and ultraviolet processing (protection against microbes and viruses), cutting vegetables, stabilising the temperature (cooling or heating, depending on the dish). This is followed by the dosage determination, packaging and dispensing. The cycle is completed by data fixation for further customer orders,” said Aleksey Karfidov, head of the department of technological equipment engineering at NUST MISIS, co-founder and general designer of Karfidov Lab.
According to the developers, the robot is able to ensure the availability, safety and hygiene of components, quick preparation and individual nutritional composition. The device will also be completely non-contact. All cooking processes are carried out without human intervention.
“The device has its brain and memory. The intelligent module collects and stores data on taste preferences and medical indications and restrictions of each order. The container ‘knows’ what is in it due to the RFID chip,” added Aleksey Karfidov.
In the past two years, several startups that seek to replace human labour in preparing healthy food have been launched in the world. More than 200 Sally the Salad Robots were installed in the United States in 2021. But, unlike the Russian design, it does not exclude the possibility of accidental ingress of a small amount of the contents of neighbouring hoppers. Such a product may cause allergic reactions. Also, Sally’s design does not address the issue of condensate drainage.