Mar 13, 2018 | By Tess

SXSW in Austin, Texas has been a hotbed for 3D printing innovations this week, with non-profit organization New Story presenting its Vulcan construction 3D printer (capable of producing a low-cost house in less than a day) and Bose unveiling a 3D printed prototype of its audio AR sunglasses.

Somewhat out of left field, digital food startup Open Meals has now brought 3D printed sushi to the table. And not just 3D printed sushi, but teleported, 8-bit sushi.

If you haven’t heard of Open Meals, the notion of 3D printed sushi that claims to be teleported and resembles 8-bit animation might seem awfully strange. It’s certainly not something you’d order at an all-you-can-eat restaurant. But lo and behold, it is real, though its tastiness is debatable.

Open Meals has developed a Pixel Food Printer that uses a robotic arm to deposit tiny edible blocks (or pixels) into a food-resembling structure. Each small pixel is made up of an edible gel that is infused with particular flavors, colors, and even nutrients.

Paired with its patent-pending “Food Base,” a digital food platform that stores various 3D food designs, the Open Meals Pixel Food Printer is capable of turning out various shapes and styles of food, such as sushi.

Ultimately, Open Meals envisions a future in which users can simply download and print their food—a sort of iTunes for edibles.

If you’re wondering where the teleportation part comes in, I should warn that it’s not exactly teleportation. Rather, at its SXSW demonstration this week, Open Meals showed visitors how it could send 3D printed sushi orders from its office in Tokyo to be 3D printed on the spot in Texas. So, er, more like email.

“Based on sushi data sent from Tokyo, a robotic arm will stack 5 mm edible gel cubes to reproduce pixellated sushi,” says the company on its website. “The robotic arm making sushi just like a professional sushi chef is a must see!”

(Images: Open Meals)

Like most 3D printed food, we’re not sure if Open Meals’ 3D printed sushi will catch on with the general public, but its food printing technology could actually have applications in space for diversifying an astronaut’s diet. Another possibility—which sounds straight out of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory—is to have TV chefs “teleport” food from the TV into people’s homes.

Currently, Open Meals is working on improving its food 3D printing technology. Among its top priorities are making the edible gel pixels smaller (meaning they might not always have that retro 8-bit aesthetic) and improving the infused flavors. One thing is for sure though: the 3D printed sushi looks pretty amazing!



Posted in 3D Printing Technology



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