Space food - delicious!Following on from our blog about how advanced home and business printers are now becoming, scientists are moving ever closer to a printer that we’ve only ever dreamed possible in a slick Sci-Fi movie. Printed food is closer than you might think.

Both The LA Times and The Globe And Mail are reporting that Cornell Creative Machines Lab have created a printer which can produce 3-D versions of food items. Their food printer uses edible inks made from various sweet and savoury liquids and meat juices. They are then poured into a print head and pumped out using syringes. This system enables the printer to utilise electronic blueprints and digital technology to create whatever complex food tastes and textures the recipe calls for.

The 3D food printer is the brainchild of Jeffrey Lipton, a PhD student in Mechanical Engineering, and Dave Arnold, the innovator of molecular gastronomy from the French Culinary Institute. They’ve pioneered a technique known as “solid freeform fabrication” and say that this new printing technology is the most exhilarating step in culinary advancement.

The technology for printing food is so far only in the embryonic stages. While at the moment, the printer can only produce raw food from the edible inks, the scientists behind this innovation are confident that they will be able to produce a printer that also cooks the food as it is printing it. Just imagine, hot gourmet meals on demand from your printer.

As incredulous and fanciful as this idea sounds, they have so far used soft foods like cheese, chocolate, soft meats, vegetables and cookie dough to make an array of food products, much more elaborate than even the most famous chefs can produce. They have already produced scallops in the shape of the Space Shuttle, intricately designed biscuits, meat cubes containing concealed vegetables and even cakes with printed messages inside them.

For now, the creators see this as a luxury item which will most probably be used in the most upmarket eateries and restaurants. However, in the longer term, Dr. Hod Lipson, head of Cornell Creative Machines Lab sees it being used in much wider applications. He envisages it being mass produced as a domestic appliance. Dr. Lipson said “it could also, in the longer term, be an appliance not unlike the bread maker, much more sophisticated but as easy to use.” He sees a future of being able to download your favourite chef’s recipes and being able to print them off at home with your own 3D food printer and edible inks.

house food

So with new advances in printing, in the future we may all be eating Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver food at the touch of our printer button. Until then, our children will have to make do with eating Captain Birdseye and Aunt Bessie at the touch of a microwave button.

For now, Cartridge Monkey will supply you with all your printing needs at home or in your business. You can be sure though that CartridgeMonkey will always keep our customers at the forefront of printing innovations, whenever these new technologies become available.

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