Cocuus or the world's first machine that treats food with lasers

June 14, 2018




A simple rice pudding can evoke adventures of riches, give rise to debates about human greed or simply a conversation about different countries and their currencies. This is just one of the proposals that make up the culinary collection of Cocuus, a company from Navarre that in barely a year has managed to market the world's first machine that transforms food with lasers.

This young company - it was founded in June 2017 - has created a tool that combines 3D printing with laser cutting and is capable of engraving, cutting, curdling, browning, sintering, printing, marking and/or steaming the most varied ingredients with decimal precision. Its creators assure that the possibilities of this machine, focused on the hospitality sector, are infinite and that, with it, any chef will be able to differentiate his business with a complete personalisation of his creations and bringing to the table impossible architectural presentations to stimulate the five senses, leaving a mnemic imprint on the diners.

The idea was conceived during a dinner at the Casino Principal in Pamplona. Patxi Larumbe Beramendi and Daniel Rico Aldaz, from Pamplona, who came from making robots for carving and painting and also for industrial work, decided to use all the mechatronics in the laboratory they shared (numerical control milling machines, laser cutting systems...) instead of for cooking to 'build' a dinner for some friends. The surprise created by that experiment was such that Patxi and Daniel thought that it would be feasible to create a tool for "creative engineering" in the kitchen and that if they managed to make it reasonably priced it would be "very marketable". They quickly took advantage of their knowledge of laser cutting machine design to sketch a first prototype that they tested in the Baserriberri restaurant in Pamplona.

Time has finally proven their idea. Its technology is already on the market. Oms y Viñas, the largest distributor of catering equipment supplies in Spain, is taking care of the start-up, maintenance and technical service of the equipment, and in a few months the Coccus team hopes to break into the international market. "London, New York, Dubai, Tokyo... are places where there is much more innovation than in Spain. We think that this technology is going to work harder abroad than in Spain", Patxi predicts.

The career of this start-up created in a garage in Cizur Menor in the purest Steve Jobs style, has been meteoric. After being selected by the Orizont accelerator and Sodena contributed 20,000 euros to the project, in June last year it was set up as a company. At the beginning of this year, together with the Baserriberri kitchen team, they set up a technological innovation and research laboratory applied to gastronomy. First, says Patxi, "we built the machine and then we realised that there were many other issues behind it and that digital applications in gastronomy were unused". And that is precisely what they are now looking for from the laboratory they have set up in Cizur: new digital applications that can be used in gastronomy, professional cooking and the agri-food industry in a whole host of processes. From Video Mapping, a technique for projecting videos or animations on surfaces, to augmented reality, including the use of mechatronics and robotics or 3D printing.


The value of the machine, they say, lies in the fact that it provides the chef with endless ways of presenting dishes. "Cocuus includes a laser head, a milling cutter and a viscous extruder, allowing the chef to multiply the possibilities for creative cooking. There is no limit other than what the chef sets for himself", explains Rico.

Following market research to identify potential customers, they will try to sell their technology to restaurants "that have Michelin stars or are looking for them", to hotels and catering companies that cater for large events, to cruise ships and to universities which, they say, "is a small niche market but one that brings a lot of prestige".

Their efforts in marketing the machine were focused on keeping the cost as low as possible. "To get a visual appearance and make a pudding, it is enough to have decimal precision," they say. For the time being, the main reluctance they have encountered concerns the learning and operation of the machine. What they are looking for is that it can be used by non-experts, which is why they have opted for software "for someone who doesn't know anything, not even how to turn on a computer".

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