Print 35 comment(s) - last by delphinus100.. on May 25 at 1:03 AM

Items on the menu include cricket pizza

Imagine exchanging recipes in the form of a piece of software instead of typed instructions on a website, and eating pizza with crickets on it instead of pepperoni.

This could be the future of long-term space travel, and even everyday life.

Anjan Contractor, who own Systems & Materials Research Corporation, has created a universal food synthesizer that uses a 3D printer to make food -- and he just received a six-month, $125,000 grant from NASA to create a prototype.

His prototype 3D food printer is based on a piece of open-source hardware called the second-generation RepRap 3D printer.  

The universal food synthesizer would read recipes in software form, where instructions on how to make certain foods would be embedded. This software tells the 3D printer which powders to mix with which liquids.

The software will also be entirely open-source, so that others can look at the code and create recipes.  

After the 3D printer "reads" the recipe, it uses a combination of powdered and certain liquid ingredients to make food layer-by-layer -- just like other 3D printed materials. Powdered forms of ingredients are used because they last longer.

“Long distance space travel requires 15-plus years of shelf life,” said Contractor. “The way we are working on it is, all the carbs, proteins and macro and micro nutrients are in powder form. We take moisture out, and in that form it will last maybe 30 years.”

Users of the universal food synthesizer can add the exact amount of proteins, carbs, etc. that they want for nutritional value. 

Also, because meat is environmentally unsustainable, the 3D printer uses insects, algae, grass, duckweed, etc. for protein. 

The first idea for the prototype is a pizza, where the printer would make a dough layer first, then a tomato paste layer and finally, a protein layer made of insects, plants or milk-based powder. 

While this 3D printed food is mainly for long-term space travel right now, Contractor believes it could also have a place in every kitchen as the human population increases. Toward the end of the century when the population is expected to be around 12 billion, a universal food synthesizer could eliminate food waste and ensure that all 12 billion mouths are fed with balanced nutrition. 

Source: Quartz

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: But can it ..
By Obujuwami on 5/21/2013 3:07:04 PM , Rating: 3
With time will come improvement, give it 30 years and it will be better. Give it 60 years and it will be fake steak with fake potatoes and fake asparagus! Top it all off with fake gravy!

RE: But can it ..
By ven1ger on 5/21/2013 4:28:10 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly, though I think this first step may have been a breakthrough, and usually once you have reached the first hurdle and shown the possibilities, then progress tends to go much faster with regards to new things like this. Maybe within the first 10 years or so we'll see working prototypes that offer basic food types. And maybe soon after that it'll be exactly what Star Trek showed us a sample.

RE: But can it ..
By Manch on 5/22/2013 3:49:09 AM , Rating: 2
Have you seen some of the 90 sec microwaveable meals? i question if they were made with real meat and potatoes. They're worse than MRE's. At least maybe with this theyll have a new use for the pink slime.

RE: But can it ..
By BRB29 on 5/22/2013 9:12:35 AM , Rating: 2
So instead of field stripping and jamming MREs into my pack, the whole squad just need a printer and a bunch of cartridges lol

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins

Most Popular Articles5 Cases for iPhone 7 and 7 iPhone Plus
September 18, 2016, 10:08 AM
No More Turtlenecks - Try Snakables
September 19, 2016, 7:44 AM
ADHD Diagnosis and Treatment in Children: Problem or Paranoia?
September 19, 2016, 5:30 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM
Automaker Porsche may expand range of Panamera Coupe design.
September 18, 2016, 11:00 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki