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在线翻译:
szdaily -> CHTF Special
SZ firm serves up cooking robot
     2015-November-19  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

    Liu Minxia

    mllmx@msn.com

    AT a large booth in the Shenzhen Convention and Exhibition Center’s Hall 1, the largest exhibiting hall at the high-tech fair, food is getting a surprising amount of attention.

    Visitors watch as noodles, rice, and steamed bread are made by a robot that was invented by a Shenzhen company.

    Called iCook, the robot was put onto the market only three months ago, although the company spent three years doing research and development. When the first version of the robot was launched in 2013, it was shown at the high-tech fair and won an award for creativity.

    Wu Yuelong is the man behind the robot. He is originally from North China’s Shanxi Province, where noodles are a staple food. Wu said he missed the noodles he grew up with when he moved to Guangdong in the 1990s.

    “I searched around for a bowl of noodles that tasted like those from home, but had no luck,” said Wu. “It was a shame I didn’t learn how to cook dishes from my hometown!”

    Wu used to sell electric cables, but his appetite for good noodles and inability to cook prompted him to develop a machine that could cook for him. He created a firm in Huizhou in 2011 and released a noodle-making machine in 2013.

    The machine’s debut at the high-tech fair in 2013 also drew the attention of the Shenzhen Municipal Government, which later invited Wu to relocate his company to the city and set up a development and manufacturing facility in Longgang District.

    “The idea is that anyone who can’t cook — or is too busy or too lazy — can still eat fresh and healthy meals by getting iCook to do the hard work, instead of eating out,” said Wu, who has been visited by city leaders and potential investors at the fair.

    Selling for 5,980 yuan (US$937), the robot can make several types of noodles along with steamed bread and rice, according to sales manager Zhang Jingzong.

    Roughly 1,000 iCooks have been sold since August and larger orders are expected later this month, Zhang said.

    Unlike many programmed bread makers on the market, iCook can take the amount of water it needs on its own once the user chooses a recipe, Zhang said.

    The robot can also be controlled from anywhere via a smartphone app.

    It takes 15 minutes to make noodles, 30 minutes to cook rice and two hours to get steamed bread ready.

    A user can put ingredients in the machine before leaving home in the morning and activate it on the way home, so dinner will be ready when they arrive.

    The company has six Chinese patents with eight more pending and the robot hasn’t been copied yet, Zhang said. “The quick pace of urban life and the growing concern about food safety in China helped us obtain our first round of financing earlier this year, although I cannot disclose the amount,” he said. “Established home automation brands like Jiuyang and Midea have approached us for collaboration, but our boss Wu thinks the time is not ripe yet. We want to build our own brand at first.”

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