Bouebot Robot is a £240,000 Robot chef that can whip up the perfect CHEESE FONDUE developed by Swiss scientists. The robot puts a futuristic twist on the classic Swiss dish, it can also pour wine into a classic fondue mix of Vacherin Fribourgeois and Gruyere. That’s not all, it can also stir and sprinkle some pepper. The robot is capable of picking up a metal spike, pierces a piece of bread, and placing it in a holder for fondue-lovers to try before the gooey cheese drips down
Cheese Fondue is one of the most popular dishes among cheese lovers around the world. Can you imagine how the Swiss-developed robot Bouebot can put a futuristic twist on an Alpine tradition?Bouebot will make a grand debut at the Paris International Agricultural Show, one of the world’s major food production trade fairs, which begins this weekend. The robot is being developed by a team at Workshop 4.0, based in Sierre, and costs around £240,000 ($325,000) to develop.
According to Workshop 4.0 co-director Nicolas Fontaine, 30, “’We wanted to do a… project that combined innovation with Swiss tradition, and fondue was a perfect choice. For the Swiss, fondue is emblematic. It’s something very emotional too because it’s part of our identity, our know-how. Fondue is something convivial… it’s a nice opportunity to draw people in to talk about robotics and how it can be used.”
The name Bouebot comes from bouebos: teenage boys who spent the summer up in the mountain chalets, helping herdsmen while they took care of making cheese.
Ludovic Aymon, the project technical manager uses his control pad to maneuver the robot arm down towards each cheese triangle which is lifted by creating a vacuum on the top.It starts swiping the underside down the grater after shearing off the ring on a circular blade. Bouebot does some vigorous figure-of-eight stirring as the cheese melts on the heater and then wipes off the spoon and sprinkles in some pepper.
Picks up a metal spike, pierces a piece of bread, swipes it around the caquelon, and then places it in a holder for fondue-lovers to try before the gooey cheese drips down.
According to Aymon, the biggest challenge was to get a precision mechanical robot to cope with imprecise organic material. Since the cheese, wedges are not perfectly flat, or of the same height, while Vacherin is much softer than Gruyere
He further jokes saying, there is no chance of the traditional duo being changed for more robot-friendly cheeses – not if the creators want to stay alive.
Some of the onlookers were thrilled to watch Bouebot in action, wondering about the future possibilities for such technology, without worrying about humans being replaced by machines.
Aymon further added, “The effect I find the most interesting is fear… that fear of being replaced by something more powerful. Robotics should not be to the detriment of human beings. It should help humans. It could help someone cook in the future. It shows that it could be done, for people who can’t do it themselves.”
Aymon made tiny modifications with each run and required more slabs from the cheese-stuffed fridge.
He said, “I can’t just work with a 3D simulation like I could with lots of industrial processes. I have to do real tests. I think I’ll never be sick of fondue, but there are times when I just can’t stand the smell of cheese in here any longer.