We’ve seen quite a few interesting uses for 3D printers, such as creating smartphone cases, cups and mugs and even moon colonies. It seems that NASA is now funding yet another unique potential use for 3D printing – food printing.
Mechanical engineer Anjan Contractor recently received a $125,000 grant to build a prototype 3D printer that could automate food creation, hopefully providing astronauts food during long-distance travel, and theoretically helping with food shortages globally by cutting down on food waste.
The idea is to use basic building blocks of food in replaceable powder cartridges, combining each block would allow a wide range of food – at least that’s the idea. Each cartridge would also have a lifespan of 30 years, making it great for long-distance space travel, emergency prep kits and other uses we probably haven’t even began to think about yet.
Contractor has already printed chocolate, and will soon be working his way up to pizza. With pizza, the printer will first create a layer of dough which will be cooked while being printed, then it will mix tomato powder with water and oil to create the sauce. Finally, it will be topped with a “protein layer”.
Remember, the goal is to create food: they didn’t say anything about it being tasty, though.
Considering the concept uses food material, you might wonder how 3D food printing could help with solving/helping the world food shortages. The idea is that it would be a more efficient way to make food with less material. Additionally, it is a stepping stone that could lead to synthetic food powders and more.
Certainly an interesting concept. Can you imagine an era where our ovens and microwaves have been placed by specialized 3D Food Printers? Kinda crazy.[ source ]