How Cornucopia's Digital Gastronomy Works

The Mechanisms of the Cornucopia

With the Virtuoso Mixer, users can experiment with a variety of ingredients to find their favorite combinations.
With the Virtuoso Mixer, users can experiment with a variety of ingredients to find their favorite combinations.

The Cornucopia is still a conceptual design, but its purpose is to mimic human ingenuity with the precision and efficiency of a machine. Each device is thematically tied to a design concept.

The Digital Fabricator enhances a food's form by manufacturing selected food combinations. While the exact mechanism for choosing recipes is not set yet, the Digital Fabricator's touch screen connects to the Internet. Users can also select recipes saved onto the device's digital catalog or recipes shared by other Digital Fabricator users in a database. The canisters located on top of the food printer are filled with the user's chosen food ingredients. From under the hood of the food printer, the Fabricator dispenses and then perfectly combines ingredients with the other elements laid out by the chosen recipe. A tubular system heats and cools food as it moves through the cooking process. The final product exits the printer ready to be sampled [source: Coelho].

The Robotic Chef transforms food components that already exist. It's about the manipulation of form, not creation. For example, you could apply a variety of cooking methods to a steak using the Robotic Chef. The device holds the steak between two robotic arms, while the toolhead arm above simultaneously alters the taste by inserting syringes filled with spice combinations. The plate located below where the steak is held in place heats the meat to the intended temperature. The benefit of the device is that you can apply a particular cooking method either locally or holistically to your food component.

The Virtuoso Mixer determines all possible ingredient combinations in an effort to find the best one for each chef. For example, if you were making a loaf of bread, you could experiment quickly with combinations of yeast and various flours, producing the tastiest loaf. The mixer dispenses ingredients from 16 canisters. The top layer distributes the ingredients using precise scale methods, and a second layer crushes and combines the ingredients. The machine heats or cools the ingredients after dispensing them into the third layer, where an insulated glass cover allows for quickly baking or modifying the temperature of the mixture to produce a sample.

Read on to see why environmentalists and health nuts will love the Cornucopia.