The world of 3D printing is an exciting one, and it has the potential to change the world in a big way. It’s also terrifying. But as more news of 3D printed guns rears its head, researchers are focusing their attention on using the technology to better humanity by—wait for it—3D printing food. Star Trek’s futuristic food replicator suddenly doesn’t seem so fictional anymore.
Thanks to a $125,000 grant from NASA, Systems and Materials Research, headed by mechanical engineer Anjan Contractor, can go forward with its proof-of-concept printer that has thus far managed to print chocolate. The eventual goal is to print out dough and actually cook that, and also print out sauces and toppings. This might be the best invention ever for college students. Or anyone with a sweet tooth (me).
“The way we are working on it is, all the carbs, proteins and macro and micro nutrients are in powder form,” Contractor explained. “We take moisture out, and in that form it will last maybe 30 years.”
Contractor said the different powder cartridges can be combined to make different foods; the more practical application is for use by astronauts. But imagine if the technology was improved to the point where 3D printed food was consumer-ready. Just tap in what you want to eat, collect the necessary powder, and you’re good to go. Now whether that’s a viable way to live nutritionally is another matter.
In the future? Contractor hopes to create a prototype pizza printer. Might I request 3D printed burritos? And maybe some 3D printed pineapple?