Innovation That Matters

Robot food critic to judge Thai food around the world


In Thailand the government funded Thai Delicious Committee has created a robot to help standardize the art of Thai food.

Weird Of The Week: This is part of a series of articles that looks at some of the most bizarre and niche business ideas we see here at Springwise.

One of the benefits of globalization is undoubtedly the cross-pollination of food cultures — New York Ramen burgers and Banh-Mi abound, Parisians eat Chinese food in London whilst Australian tourists dine on Turkish mezze in Berlin. Unfortunately, former Prime Minister of Thailand Yingluck Shinawatra doesn’t agree that this is such a good thing. Inspired by one too many bland, inauthentic meals at so-called Thai restaurants abroad, Shinawatra’s government has funded the Thai Delicious Committee whose purpose is to promote authenticity in Thai cooking around the world.

The results of the project were recently unveiled at a gala dinner in Bangkok — the “e-delicious” machine is an intelligent robot which uses sensor technology to measure smell and taste in food like a critic. It is a small machine which contains a database of recipes and their corresponding chemical make-up.

Dishes are evaluated through a comparison to the collective taste of 120 Thai people, their preferences designated which recipes the e-delicious robot would hold up as the gold standard. The machine uses an electronic “nose” and an electronic “tongue” to measure chemical signatures in the dishes. Sourness, sweetness, saltiness and spiciness are all accounted for before a rating out of 100 is produced — 80 being the lower limit for government approved dishes.

The Thai Delicious Committee has also created an iPhone app with select committee endorsed recipes and — inspired by New York’s sanitation inspection letter grades — Thai Delicious will offer a logo to be placed on the menu of sanctioned restaurants.

Businessman Nakah Thawichawatt hopes to commercialize the machine and sell models at USD 18,000 to Thai Embassies in foreign countries, but is there potential for a simpler product that could find its way into the kitchens of chefs and enthusiastic home cooks?


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