News Release

Exploring the eating experience of a pneumatically-driven edible robot: Perception, taste, and texture

Peer-Reviewed Publication

The University of Electro-Communications

Exploring the eating experience of a pneumatically-driven edible robot: Perception, taste, and texture


Edible robot: (a) three-dimensional computer-aided design model, (b) internal structure, (c) photograph of the edible robot, (d) the edible robot with a three-dimensional printed handle.

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Credit: Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical and Intelligent Systems Engineering, Graduate School of Informatics and Engineering, The University of Electro-Communications, Japan

In a landmark study, Associate Professor Yoshihiro Nakata of the University of Electro-Communications, Japan, in collaboration with researchers from Osaka University, conducted groundbreaking research on edible robotics. Published in PLOS ONE, this study is the first to explore the experience of consuming a moving edible robot.

Drawing inspiration from traditional Japanese culinary practices like Odorigui, which involves eating live seafood, this research extends these cultural concepts into the domain of robotics. The team developed a pneumatically-driven robot made of gelatin and sugar, focusing on creating an experience that merges the animate with the edible, reminiscent of the dynamism found in Odorigui.

The study comprised two experiments. The first experiment assessed participants' impressions based solely on observing the robot's movements, without eating. This phase provided valuable insights into how the perceived animateness of the robot impacts the hypothetical eating experience.

In the second experiment, each participant experienced both conditions: eating the robot while it was in motion and when it was stationary. This within-subject comparison revealed that perception (Intelligence, emotion, animateness, guilt, and freshness) was notably more intense when the robot was in motion. The texture experienced while biting and chewing the animated robot was different from the stationary condition.

 In pioneering the field of Human-Edible Robot Interaction (HERI), which is a novel concept of studying interactions between humans and edible robots, this study represents a significant stride in understanding how people interact with and perceive edible, moving robots. By creating a controlled environment to examine human psychology in the context of consuming these robots, the research offers novel insights into the immediate psychological and cognitive effects of such interactions. Furthermore, the exploration of HERI extends beyond psychological and cognitive responses. It delves into ethical, societal, and philosophical considerations of consuming edible robots and the act of eating, thereby broadening our understanding of the complex interplay between technology, food ethics, and human values. In addition, this pioneering research opens new possibilities in the intersection of culinary arts and robotics, suggesting innovative applications in gastronomy and medical fields.


Key contributors from Osaka University include:


  1. Midori Ban (Specially Appointed Lecturer)
  2. Ren Yamaki
  3. Kazuya Horibe (Specially Appointed Assistant Professor)
  4. Hideyuki Takahashi (Guest Associate Professor)
  5. Hiroshi Ishiguro (Professor (Distinguished Professor))


For a more immersive understanding of our study and to see the edible robot in action, please visit [] to watch our research video. This visual presentation offers a unique perspective on the experiments and the innovative concept of Human-Edible Robot Interaction (HERI).

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