3D cooking one step closer in entering the threshold of reality: Print your breakfast away! In the age of rapid prototyping, the world has been gifted with a new way to cook. When chocolate printers, candy printers and even ice cream printers were introduced, people awed.
But have you ever thought of the idea to create your own breakfast from the scratch? Just imagine making pancakes. Cracking the eggs and adding flour, sugar and salt and make a mess? Or even just making a pair of egg fries or omelets? Now think about putting a cartridge into the 3D printer and letting rapid prototyping do its magic, presenting you with your desired delicious meal in a minute or two. Cooking will never be the same again, will it?
Hod Lipson of Columbia University has been navigating himself through the unexplored territory of 3D food printer and has been researching on rapid prototyping since the last 20 years. He calls the 3D food printer a killer app. He had stumbled upon this breakthrough idea when his students were using food material as a source for multi-material printer in making robots. There are two ways in this method. The first one is the powder method where the powder is glued together by a liquid substance like water.
The second method is an extrusion based that used syringes to deposit the gel in the desired location according to the command of the recipe given. The prototype works with infrared rays to manufacture different parts of the items at a certain time.
His students are primarily working with flour, dough, cookie, pesto, jam and eggs and the result usually varies.
The essential drawbacks that they are facing at the moment are mixing several items together which is an important part of the cooking as mixtures have a complex behavior. Temperature is also a huge driving factor. For example, baking and frying requires different temperatures to work with. The team is working to solve this issue as soon as they can.
Lipson has two visions for this food printer. First is printing food you have never tried to make or eat before. Making it by hand would not only require time and care but also perfection to get the desired taste? What is the food printer could do it for you? It can make digital recipes go viral and inspire recipes on a whole new level. The second is on targeted nutrition and health. What if you want more protein in your food and less of carb? This will engage more people to keep a track of their health in a more detailed manner and keeping all their intakes in check.
“Imagine a world where the breakfast that you eat has exactly what you need that day,” Lipson says. “Your muffin has, say, a little less sugar, a little more calcium.”
Introducing “digital food” will not only cause a breakthrough in science but can change the health lives of many. Rapid prototyping of food will not ensure huge leap in a balanced diet but may also decrease the stress on low natural resources and the wastage of it. Moreover a bigger step can be taken to reduce global warming.
So how again can 3D food printing work? It’s a machine propelled robotic arm squeezing the food material out in the designed inputted in its system with a precision that even humans cannot come close to. In 2014, Foodini was manufactured, that is an open capsule model where a person can place the ingredients and the machine will do the rest of the cooking. Bocusini took it to the next level by introducing it with WIFI and internet supporting platform. It claims to have over 30 recipes varying from sweets, confectionary items, fruit, vegetables, bakery, meat and dairy.
One idea can spark many ideas. With machines like these the theory of digital food can come to a reality. Who does not want instant fresh food instead of pre-cooked meals! Not only it would bring more luxury to the plane but can address the on demand orders of the passengers for their comfort and give them more option to choose from and even make their own food.
In the near future, rapid prototyping of food can also revolutionize modern food designs and take them to a new height. Although as of it, 3D printed food is not as appetizing as normal cooked food but it is a pleasure to the eye and even make one forget about the drawbacks of the taste. Now that’s one way to hack into fine dining. It can also help to make food for the elderly, to provide the correct meals in a softer and chewable form, especially in puree and also provide a wide variety of it.
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