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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



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environmentally unsustainable? Really?
By harshbarj on 5/21/2013 6:18:45 PM , Rating: 4
"Also, because meat is environmentally unsustainable"
Sounds like something a vegan would post. We have been raising animals for meat from the dawn of civilization. I just don't see how this comment is of any merit?




By ven1ger on 5/21/2013 7:07:03 PM , Rating: 2
I'm no vegetarian but I think this has more to do with the amount to put one pound of meat on the table is totally offset by the number of pounds to feed the animal over the course of its lifetime to provide that meat. Don't know the ratio off-hand but it is quite a lot. Or another way to look at it is if a cow has requires an acre to graze, that acreage could be better used to grow crops that could feed more people.


RE: environmentally unsustainable? Really?
By Reclaimer77 on 5/22/2013 9:22:56 AM , Rating: 2
That's what I was thinking too. Because you can dehydrate and powder meat as well, which would have a similar shelf-life to these other ingredients. So obviously he's making a choice based on some lame ideology to exclude real meat.

Hey buddy, you know what else is "environmentally unsustainable"? SPACEFLIGHT!! lol

Speaking of shelf life, the cold vacuum of space makes one hell of a freezer. Just saying..


By delphinus100 on 5/25/2013 1:03:52 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Speaking of shelf life, the cold vacuum of space makes one hell of a freezer. Just saying..


'Vacuum' isn't any temperature. The sunlit side of ISS or anything else in space (unless very far from it, of course) can get quite hot, thank you...


"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher














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