Quickly picking up pace in popularity, 3D printing is a concept so progressive, it’s impossible to imagine anyone not being completely taken by it. In a world where 3D printers have almost become household appliances, anyone can have anything almost instantly. Also referred to as additive manufacturing, this process of creating a three-dimensional object seemingly out of thin air by applying layer after layer of material is working its way towards becoming the biggest time saver out there. Currently, the popularity of 3D printing still revolves around prosthetics, but opportunities are almost infinite. Although still far from fully functional, printing food is no longer a concept of sci-fi movies.

3dpizza

Image source: ncat.stlawu.edu

Difficult to explain in detail, as it is, some 3D printers are built with making food in mind. In layman’s terms, this printer dispenses mixed materials, creating beautiful patterns. Although 3D printers can partially make pizza, pastas and similar single or many-ingredient foods, they have a long way to go before we can order printed duck l’orange.

Imagine a day when you’ll be able to simply make food appear in a matter of seconds. It could very well boost creativity and improve the quality, by allowing us to control the input ingredients and levels of sugar, fat and vitamins. Furthermore, sustainability has a lot of space for improvement here, by controlling the amounts of desired materials.

Still mainly focused on sugar-based snacks, food printers are quickly picking up pace – in fact, I bet machines like ChefJet and CocoJet will replace the mainstream candy factories in no time. This not only speeds up the process and cuts down on financial loss, but poses a way towards saving the earth, seeing as how factories are quite the polluters.

The food designs of 3D printed food are so beautiful to look at, that customers often refrain from even eating, but instead just sit back and marvel at the piece of tech-art in front of them.

Devices like Foodini, launched by Natural Machines in March can make potato salads, various pastes and other healthy, organic foods. However, what Foodini lacks is the ability to prepare cooked food, so you’d either have to cook the meal afterwards (not really a problem with a microwave) or do with food that requires no preparation.

However, food printers are not just for the lazy. Think astronauts, for example. If food could actually be made on space stations, the storage requirements would dwindle in size and meals in space would turn healthier in no time. Furthermore, if we’re to take on the challenge of establishing colonies on planets like Mars for example, we’ll need an easy way to make quality food of variety.

3D food printers are yet another giant leap for mankind. With a lot of room for improvement and some great ideas in mind, the future might already be on our doorstep. There’s more to it than mere time saving – perks like dialing down the pollution and providing necessary ingredients for future colonies based on other planets are a window into the future!

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Posted by Howard Bell

Howard has been writing about technology for quite some time now, especially if you count his diary entries where he laments the pressing programming issues hiding behind the painfully obvious lack of the long blocks in Tetris (also known as the ‘stupid game is cheating’ bug). He has since refined his approach, trying to take a slightly more impartial and a bit more informative voice, but still finds inspiration in the ways that different devices can annoy him to wit’s end.

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