Apps for New Virtual Reality Frontiers

January 5, 2017 | Rob LaPointe

It’s a brand new year, which means it’s time for a brand new entrepreneurial venture! The hottest market of 2016 (and probably 2017) were the new Digital Realities: Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed. And we’ve talked a lot about how these new realities will change everything from Business to Gaming.

But every once and awhile, we like to take a step back, to see how new technologies can help brick-and-mortar, non-tech industries. A recent example of this was our discussion on using tech similar to Amazon Go for Mom and Pop Stores. But today, we wanted to focus on how VR/AR is impacting another favorite topic of ours: Cooking and (naturally) eating.

Believe it or not, enhanced realities can make a huge impact on this industry. It will help train the new generation of Chefs. It will help promote modern restaurants. And it will even help promote better eating practices and may help with weight loss.

Learn How to Cook with VR

A very standard part of any Chef’s training is a brief tutelage with a top chef. It often involves spending a lot of money to travel somewhere, like France and Japan (the two countries with the most Michelin-rated restaurants). These apprenticeships often last for 6 months or longer; needless to say, this was often cost-prohibitive for many aspiring chefs.

Enter Virtual Reality Apps. Imagine what it would be like to learn at the side of some of the world’s top chefs. Imagine an app that works with any VR equipment, transporting users to the kitchens of some of the most legendary masters in the world. Already many apps from cooking legends are available, in the form of videos and cookbook apps.

But VR apps for chefs go beyond that. The value of a teaching aide app that immerses users completely within a simulated kitchen is immeasurable. This type of app places a student in the very world of their teacher; VR apps for chefs-in-training take chefs out of the study pooks and place them within an interactive teaching environment.

You read that right: interactive. Using AI tools like those SDI has created, it’s even possible to create a Virtual Personal Sous Chef. This AI can help correct the chef as he is learning new dishes or mastering a new technique. It can even help keep track of how long dishes have been cooking/sitting, what still needs to be prepped, and so on. But things get very cool when you throw in Augmented Reality.

How Augmented Reality is Making New Master Chefs

Smart Homes have been making a splash recently, but Smart Kitchens are only just getting started. Recently, several researchers, scientists, and plain old entrepreneurs have used AR and AI to create amazing cool Smart Kitchens. From Japan to the University of Washington, these Smart Kitchens use Machine Learning combined with cameras to track movements, direct technique, and even measure ingredients.

The Kyoto Sangyo University in Japan has used cameras and projectors mounted on a kitchen ceiling with AR to provide visual, step by step instructions. This is an exceptionally useful tool, going so far as to overlay lines on meat, directing the chef where they should cut. It even records movements and has a small robot assistant that will measure ingredients and let the chef know what (if any) else is needed.

At the UK’s Newcastle University, researchers there created a Smart Kitchen that helps you cook while teaching you French! The language! Additionally, the system uses a series of Accelerometers to track what instruments cooks have picked up, correcting them (in French first, then English) if they have chosen the wrong instrument.

Finally, researchers from the University of Washington in the US use cameras that can judge sizes and depths of a bowl. This system follows chefs around the kitchen, using these cameras to note when ingredients have been added to a bowl and to note whether or not it was the correct amount. They hope that the system will soon have the ability to detect when an incorrect ingredient was added!

Keep in mind that while SDI doesn’t make hardware, we can easily write whole systems for Smart Kitchens – or we can set you up with an app to take advantage of this growing market.

Other Arenas

There are two other ideas we wanted to discuss, but the tech is still in its infancy (which means you could be a pioneer – the rich kind!). This means that the details are sparse, so we will cover both in one section. First:

• Virtual Chow: VR is getting to the point where it can easily simulate even something as complex as eating and taste. While we’re still mastering the tech for Virtual Taste, there are still other ways of promoting your restaurant with VR. Think of an app that has VR recreations of a typical night at your restaurant. Ambience, lighting, Staff, Plating, other Clientele – all of these impact how a potential diner views your restaurant. Why not show them what it’s like before they even stop by??


• Weightloss. Yep – there is good evidence to believe that an app built with the right development principles could prove a significant boon to those who struggle with weight. This can be done by simulating a meal and stimulating the same chemical receptors activated when we eat. Already, similar tech is being applied in the medical world to injuries as severe as systemic body burns.

In other words, we’re only just beginning to realize just how impactful VR/AR/MR will be on the world. What is clear, though, is that the market is just gaining steam – and that the money’s out there, just waiting to be seized. Want to get your fair share? Give us a call at 408.805.0495/408.621.8481 – or click to contact us!

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