Food robotics start-up Karakuri reveals ‘world’s-first’ automated canteen

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British food robotics company Karakuri has unveiled what it claims is the world’s first robotic canteen.

The DK-One has been designed to enable contactless ordering of made-to-order healthy convenience food.

A video released the company showcases a pre-production version of DK-One that uses machine learning, sensing and control technologies to prepare both hot and cold meals, with temperature controlled food storage from -8℃ to 65℃ within the robot.

Customers are able to customise and place their order from their phone or an in-store tablet. Up to 18 ingredients can be dispensed in one personalised meal, with up to 100 meals produced an hour. Typical meal serving time, from start to order collection is three minutes, with a typical output of one dish every 36 seconds.

According to Karakuri, the robotic canteen provides consumer flexibility and choice through accurate portion sizes, traceable ingredients, nutrients and calories. DK-One can also dispense both wet and dry ingredients and reduce food waste by harnessing real-time data on ingredient usage.

The pre-production version of the DK-One is being demonstrated and evaluated by customers in Karakuri’s facility in Hammersmith, London

Barney Wragg, CEO and co-founder of Karakuri, said: “This is one of the most highly-anticipated stages of our business and a really important step. We’ve spent time talking to our customers and industry specialists, and seen huge enthusiasm for DK-One’s potential.

“Now up and running, this will be the first time we can use a pre-production machine to demonstrate the DK-One’s commercial and nutritional benefits in the real world and thus demonstrate our vision for the future of food.”

According to Karakuri, the robotic system could revolutionise the food and hospitality industry in a post-Covid world by minimising human-to-human contact during meal preparation and by adhering to food and safety standards. DK-One has been developed to ensure the machine’s cleanliness can be maintained throughout the day with equipment readily available in existing commercial kitchens.

Wet and dry ingredients are dispensed onto plates, bowls or range of meal containers

The demonstration of the system by customers in Karakuri’s facility in Hammersmith, London, follows a £6.3m investment, led by firstminute capital and which includes funding from Hoxton Ventures, Taylor Brothers, Ocado Group and the Future Fund, which was developed by the UK government and is being delivered by the British Business Bank.

Karakuri said the funding will enable the company to develop its technology and create new products beyond DK-One.

On-customer-site trials of the DK-One are expected to be completed in the first half of 2021.

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