With the advancement in technology, all that we saw in films as sci-fi is now turning into reality. The new ground breaking news is from the 3D printing arena. Many 3D printing organizations are all set to launch 3D printed food replicators in the market. This printer would turn fresh ingredients into a fully cooked meal without having to dirt your hands. In this new field of 3D food companies like: Foodini, 3D Systems’ and the Sugar Lab’s Chefjet, and Choc Edge are leading the way. Apart these, two Italian companies, WASP and 3DiTALY have gone to Modica, the Sicilian realm of chocolate, to give it a shot. Foodini plans to sell its printer for $1,300 and ChefJet is planning to charge a whooping $5000 for its smaller printer and for the larger ones the price could be as high as $10000. For most of the consumers these prices will be hard to swallow.
Some see this as a cutting edge technology but some are quite skeptical about this. It might take some time for people to embrace this new technology. These days’ people have become very conscious about their health, so when they hear of this new concept the first thing that strikes them is whether it is safe? Does it cause cancer? Any thing to do with radiation? These are some questions that haunt the minds of many. When microwaves were introduced in the market in 1950s, they were rejected by most people but now it has become a household item. The same could be the case with 3D printed food items.
The working of the printer is similar to any other 3D printing process. The printer works by taking fresh ingredients that has been prepared for printing by cooking and blending. This is then extruded through a nozzle onto a glass plate. By putting in the right ingredients, the printer could save time and effort. It could also replicate designs that would otherwise be difficult to do by hands. Examples include pumpkin gnocchi, Christmas-tree-shaped cookies, and elaborate edible vessels for holding dips or nibbles.
Now, let’s take a look at the 3D printing concepts that have been propagated by various companies.
3D systems announced about an agreement that has been made with candy maker Hershey. This agreement was made so that innovative opportunities could be developed for using 3D printing technology in the creation of edible food. The printer will give the manufacturer the liberty to create candies in various shapes and sizes. The best part would be the candies could be custom made also.
NASA has granted a contract of $125,000 with Systems & Materials Research to develop a pizza printer for the astronauts that go outer space. The proto-type that was developed used shelf-stable powdered food and oils. These ingredients offered nutrition as well as reduced the garbage on the space ship.
Foodini has decided to launch this year a printer can print all sorts of food. The process is quite simple. The dough is needed to be prepared and poured in the food capsules of the printer and select ravioli on the printer’s iPad like surface. Then patience is the key and Voilà ravioli is ready to be eaten. The price of this printer is $1,400. Apart from ravioli Chickpea nuggets can also be prepared in this machine.
A business firm known as the Cornell Creative Machines Lab has built a printer that can create a swirly, flower-shaped corn chip, using masa dough. It can also make Hamburger patties.
The possibilities that exist with 3DP is endless but how much of all this can be materialized is the big question.