We talk a lot about 3D printing, now it is time to talk about digital gastronomy: food printing. The development of food printer is newer than 3D printing, and at least very interesting.
At 3D printing event 2011 students from MIT students showed three different devices:
- Robotic chef for changing food. You can change colors, add flavors cut out the fat from meat.
- Digital fabricator for food preparation. You can download the food file and print it out.
- Virtuoso mixer for mixing different elements.
In the past 100 years there was not much topics about the combination of technology and food. From Youtube there is an interesting video:
The food printer is at the concept design stage, but in future these are all possible. The concept design was introduced by two graduate students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Fluid Interfaces Group Media Lab: designer/engineer in algorithmic image process development Amit Zoran, and designer and research assistant Marcelo Coelho.
The food printing process begins with selecting the required food canisters in which ingredients are stored and kept refrigerated. Ingredients are then fed into a mixing chamber and the mixture is extruded and deposited in layers of various and complex combinations of ingredients. During deposition of the layers onto the serving tray the ingredients are either cooked or cooled in the chamber or by heating/cooling tubes attached to the printing head.
The researchers say the printing process brings cooking technologies into the digital age and allows entirely novel textures and flavors to be created that would otherwise be unimaginable and which are unobtainable through traditional cooking techniques. They say users would be able to control the nutritional value, quality and flavors in each meal through a touch-screen interface and Internet connectivity, which would allow them to manipulate parameters such as carbohydrate or fat content and calories. The design also allows for the food printer to be able to automatically order new ingredients and suggest an alternative ingredient if one runs out.
Soon you are about to download the recipe from internet and enter a code to your printer, and you get your food in your hand.
Another company, Philips has also been working on food printing, although it is a conceptual way. Philips is especially interested in the combination of "medical" and "food". For patients who swallow daily medicine a food printer would be an ideal solution. The reason that Philips is still cautious with food printing for consumers is because, many discussions from potential users reveals that users actually want the opposite. They want to return to fresh products, naturally prepare a meal. People are concern about the artificial forms of cooking. For many people it is nice to know that their food is originally from a green garden.
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