Oct.9, 2013

As the world's population surges over 7 billion people, much of the conservation talk at SXSW Eco this year has to do with how to sustain that growing population.

"Imagine for five years, someone has to eat MREs (Meal, Ready-to-Eat)," said Anjan Contractor, a Senior Mechanical Engineer at Systems and Materials Research Corporation (SMRC) in Austin, TX., "That's just absolutely terrible."

Contractor's company, received a six month, $125,000 grant from NASA to further develop a fully functional 3D food printer for printing customized nutritious food for astronauts during long distance space travel. "They wanted to investigate other technologies that can provide sustainable nutrients and food source to astronauts," Contractor said.

Contractor sees a future that every kitchen has a 3D printer and people could just create food from basic powdered ingredients. At SXSW Eco Contractor showed off a 3D printed pizza made on a RepRap 3D printer that Contractor originally designed to make a chocolate valentine for his wife. How does it work? Powdered ingredients that can keep for years are mixed into individual vessels with water and oil. A heated plate then receives a square of dough, a layer of tomato sauce, and some cheese topping. Twelve minutes later an appetizing little pizza is created. In the future, You can just buy cartridges of powder and oils at the corner grocery store. Once a cartridge is empty, it would be returned to the store.

"We can pretty much provide food-on-table with very few resources," Contractor said. "Let's say someone is an athlete in the family and they need more protein, we can design recipes for them and print out more protein-nutritious food for that individual and at the same time say someone is pregnant and requiring more iron, we can bring more iron-enriched food," Contractor said.

But we can't actually eat this 3D printed pizza before the company gets approval from the FDA for the food that they are printing.

Contractor believes that this is the future of food, and it could be in every kitchen to help feed a growing population. Along with developing the printer for NASA the company is also considering commercializing this 3D food printer.

 

Posted in 3D Printers

 

 

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Ben wrote at 10/10/2013 12:56:06 AM:

are they cooking the pizza on the hot plate too? Is it printed and cooked in 12 minutes? I would love to be able to print homemade crackers anytime. :D Would want the program to remove each food item as it completed cooking though.



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