You’ve seen 3D movies, there has even been a 3D printed gun, but would you eat 3D printed food? NASA has announced that it will fund construction of the world’s first 3D food printer. NASA hopes that 3D printed food could benefit astronauts and that the printers will one day be a household item.
NASA has given a $125,000 grant to mechanical engineer Anjan Contractor to build the 3D printer he has already designed. The American space company wants the 3D printers to help provide food for astronauts on long distance journeys through space, but many believe it could be even better for those on Earth.
How you Print Food
Here is how you print food. The food printer is fed cartridges of powders and oils containing all the nutrients needed for a healthy diet. The cartridges work very similar to the way a standard printer’s ink cartridges work. The ingredients of the desired food are then sprayed on layer-by-layer, eventually creating a solid three-dimensional food.
Feeding the World
With hunger a major problem in certain areas of the world, the 3D food printer has limitless potential. The cartridges used wouldn’t go out of date for over 30 years and will provide a long shelf life. Contractor believes that many economists think the current food systems can’t supply the billions of people on Earth sufficiently. “So we eventually have to change our perception of what we see as food,” he said.
Once the Contractor’s 3D printer is up and running, they will test it by attempting to print a pizza. Its flat shape makes it the perfect choice for the test run (Plus who doesn’t like pizza?). They will first print the dough, then the tomato base, and lastly the “protein-layer” topping. If Contractor’s design works, it will change the way we look at food forever.