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3D printing: soon, a food printer in every kitchen

3D printing: soon, a food printer in every kitchen

Posting in Design

3D food printers may soon be as common fixtures as microwaves in peoples' kitchens.

Not too long ago, microwave ovens were expensive, start-of-the-art devices only seen in restaurants or industrial kitchens. So, it's not too far-fetched to imagine that 3D food printers may end up taking counter space alongside microwave ovens in millions of kitchens across the land.

Startup company Essential Dynamics will soon be marketing a 3D food printer that will retail for $1,000 initially. Fast Company's Lakshmi Sandhana spoke with Founder Jamil Yosefzai, who has a vision of a 3D printer in every kitchen. "As time passes, 3D food printing we will go from novelty…to utility…to indispensability," he is quoted as saying.

Work on 3D food printing has also been taking place at Cornell Creative Machines Lab and MIT. Here's how the CCML food printer works:

"The CCML food printers require edible inks and electronic blueprints called FabApps. This machine prints food using multiple cartridges, going line by line until the desired shape is extruded. 'The electronic blueprint specifies exactly which materials go where--it is essentially a blueprint of the food item,' says Hod Lipson, the head of the lab. It’s a way to create new flavors and forms of food by varying its chemical properties. 'It’s a huge 'design space,' and the combination of tastes and textures, geometries and colors that can be achieved is enormous,' says Lipson."

CCML supports an open-source effort underway called Fab@Home, which also promotes a vision of low-cost 3D printers in every home, producing all kinds of functional 3D objects -- from food to replacement parts for household devices. The CCML folks call it "personal fabrication."

(Photo Credit: Fab@Home.)

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Joe McKendrick

Contributing Editor

Joe McKendrick is an independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. He is a co-author of the SOA Manifesto and has written for Forbes, ZDNet and Database Trends & Applications. He holds a degree from Temple University. He is based in Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure