Meet BreadBot, an automated bread-making machine for bringing fresh loaves to massive grocers, like Walmart and Kroger. The main name behind it, Wilkinson Baking Company, has worked on developing this prototype for 10 years, and now, finally, this device is debuting at SXSW in Austin, Texas this week.
The working of this suggests, that the bot mixes, kneads, rolls out, and bakes fresh loaves of bread. Also, this loaf takes about 90 minutes from start to finish, after which the machine rolls out fresh bread throughout the day with the help of loads of sensors. BreadBot can create the majority of the bread, except for sticky ones, like cinnamon buns and raisin bread. However, the company is still working on figuring out sourdough, too.
However, a lot of sensors are also placed in this making. To take it from the top, the machine features a built-in hopper that holds dry ingredients, like flour and yeast, for up to 100 loaves. After which, every six minutes, enough dry ingredients for one loaf are dropped from the hopper and mixed with water. An ultrasonic measuring system determines when the water has reached the appropriate amount. After this, an automated mixer kneads the dough. All of this is powered by a built-in PC in the base of the machine.
That kneaded dough is then dropped onto a conveyor belt, where a laser is there to detect the presence and the time the dough takes to compress. The harder the dough, the longer would it take to get through this rolling out process. The machine remembers this time and adjusts the amount of water it adds to the following loaves to optimize them for a quicker rollout.
The dough is then dropped into a baking pan, which then makes its way into a proofing oven that’s set for high humidity and a relatively warm temperature. Now, it takes about 45 minutes for the dough to rise. It then makes its way up to the baking oven, which is now hot with low humidity, and this process takes about 40 minutes.
Now, as the bread comes out of the oven, a laser would determine the bread’s height, making further recipe adjustments to ensure that the following loaves reach their height goals. Here, a photo is also taken for color matching to ensure that the bread is the exact shade of brown it should be. Further adjustments are also made after this. A vending machine arm then drops the bread off in a user-facing display, for the customers to choose the loaf they want to buy. The arm would also fetch the bread for them.
Customers would be also to see the information about the bread. For instance, how old it is and how it was baked. The tablet would also use facial recognition software to estimate a customer’s age offering the stores data about who uses the machine. This could also be used to offer people more personalized coupons. Another exclusive feature is also the internal vent that pumps out the smell of fresh bread, so shoppers know what they’re missing.
The main idea is to lease these machines to big stores, and eventually let customers pre-order specific bread recipes, although that process would take place much later because the machine can only currently handle one recipe at a time. The company also wants to get all these machines online so they can talk to each other and learn from their recipe experiences.