Printable Food: Ready to Pull Dinner Off the Printer?

fab@home food printerYou know how we all thought in the future we'd be traveling by jet pack and getting all our food in pill form? Well, I'm still waiting for my jet pack (no, the Segway doesn't count), but it looks like we're almost there with the food from pills.

Scientists at Cornell University are working on a 3D food printer that could someday be as common as the microwave oven and will completely change cooking as we know it.

Are you ready to see what printable food would look like?



Here's a 3D food printer creating what appears to be a Nutella triangle. Innnnnnnnnnteresting. But, um, you could also just open a jar of Nutella and grab a spoon, right?

Clearly the 3D food printer is still very much in the "research and development" stage. It's actually just one aspect of Cornell University's Computational Synthesis Lab Fab@Home project, which could someday enable anyone to build all manner of household objects at home.

For now, the 3D food printer is limited to creating foods that can squirt out of a syringe. You create a blueprint for how the food gets "printed" out, just like an ink printer. According to BBC News, the team is working on mixing foods with hydrocolloids, substances that form gels when mixed with water. Ultimately cooking could become a matter of downloading a recipe, loading the right links, and letting the machine do the cooking for you. But they're still a long way from printing out mom's perfect apple pie.

That's where home experimenters come in. This is an open source project, which means it relies on people doing their own experiments and sharing the results. Right now you can download the instructions for creating your own 3D food printer -- or you can buy an already assembled printer for around $2,000-$3,500. (Yikes! I'd rather spend the money on fine dining.)

Those of you working on this Fab@Home 3D food printing project, I wish you a hearty Good Luck With That! As for me, I'll keep cooking the old-fashioned way. Let me know when your printer can produce a whole, roasted chicken and just make sure the syringes are all dishwasher-safe.

Would you love to use a 3D food printer or would it take the fun out of cooking for you?


Image via Fab@Home

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