Food printers could be used on several occasions. They could for instance improve your kitchen, help astronauts to provide for better meals, and they might as well be useful for soldiers. So thinks the US Army. Their department Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) is currently investigating how food printing could help the military world. Researchers think the technique could help to eliminate food waste and reduce costs, to make it easier to create personalized meals and even to improve a soldier’s health.
NSRDEC representatives recently met with researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory and talked about how food printing could be used in the military world. Mary Scerra, a food technologist at NSRDEC thinks there will be a financial benefit: “It could reduce costs because it could eventually be used to print food on demand. For example, you would like a sandwich, where I would like ravioli. You would print what you want and eliminate wasted food.”
When it comes to news about wars, stories are often focussed on the mortality rate. Obviously, this is a very important part of wars and something which needs to be reported of. However, the world sometimes forgets about the wounded soldiers. The number of U.S. soldiers with serious injuries has increased, according to Michael Romanko, an official at the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine (AFIRM) by the Department of Defence. The U.S. army therefore wants to try its luck with bioprinting.
The U.S. army currently invests in the technique and is investigating how it could help them to treat wounds. By printing skin cells on the patient, they hope to be able to recover wounds fully. Burns, which account for 10 to 30 percent of all war injuries, could potentially be recovered by bioprinting news layers of skin. The aforementioned AFIRM was therefore established in 2008. It is a network of universities, military laboratories and investigators and they focus on fields such as skin repair.
Nestle uses a Star Trek concept in order to produce healthy meals. Well, that is not the first thing you expected to read this day, but yes – it’s true. Nestle, a brand we all know from their candy bars, Nespresso and hot chocolate now wants to take a stroll down health lane. The company got influenced by the Replicator, which was a machine featured in Star Trek, able to synthesize meals on demand. Nestle now wants to create something similar: a Nespresso-ish machine that can create meals with the exact right amount of vitamin D and minerals.
But stop daydreaming right away, because there will be many years to come before this mystery machine can be realized. However, it’s still an interesting project: ‘Iron Man’, by the Nestle Institute of Health Sciences (NIHS). Yes, Nestle has something like a health science institute and it seems they are actually doing a pretty good job over there. A team, consisting of as menu as 110 people, is currently researching liks between mineral and vitamin deficiencies and illnesses such as cancer and diabetes.
The biggest disadvantage of 3D printing today is that it produces a lot of plastic waste. Technical progression unfortunately also leads to environmental degradation, and we know it. Many parties creatively tried to do something about this environmental degradation, for instance a team of Taiwanese people who created a bike that turned garbage into art. Or Chinese company WinSun, which created 3D printed houses from garbage. New in the game is Grayson Galisky, a 15-year-old, who wants to go to Kickstarter to start a 3D printing filament recycling program.
A 3D printer uses filament, and every time when something isn’t printed correctly, there will be plastic waste. This is a pity, thinks Galisky, a young boy, who has a 3D printer at home and goes to a school with a 3D printer. He therefore wants to go to Kickstarter to start a recycling program for 3D printer filament and wants to do it in the upcoming months. It is his aim to not only recycle old filament, but also create “multicolor 3D printer filament”.
It’s only been a couple of days since we wrote something about a pancake printer, but already today we can confirm the existence of a new, highly interesting food printer. More precisely, we’re talking about a 3D printer able to print out fruit in only a few seconds. Cambridge design company Dovetailed today launches its first-ever fruit printer, and according to them this printed fruit is actually eatable.
Imaging not having to go to a greengrocer to get your fruits, but just being able to print out any kind of fruit at home: that sounds surreal, doesn’t it? Well, if we may believe Dovetailed and Cambridge News, then 3D printing pears and apples is the future. The company uses a technique called ‘spherification’ to print out their fruits. ‘Spherification’ is a so-called molecular-gastronomy technique, which uses a combination of individual liquid droplets and a variety of flavors to create fruit shapes.
Metal printing currently seems to be having its golden years, so say brand new figures. A new report by research consultancy Wohlers Associates concludes metallic printing has had a growth of 75.8 percent in 2013 compared to its 2012 figures. As many as 348 3D metal printers were sold last year, while 2012 only saw 198 metal printers sold.
Metal printers won’t soon enter the average living room, as they are much too expensive for individuals to buy. These printers can easily costs tens of thousands of dollars, and are being used by big companies for professional purposes. Taking this high price into account will surely shine a different light upon the 348 metal printers that were sold in 2013. Despite the fact it’s only a small market today (or maybe: due to the fact), owning a metal printer is quite an expensive hobby to have and so there is a lot of money in this market.
There have been a lot of food printers around recently, such as the ChefJet Pro by 3D Systems and the Foodini, by Natural Machines. Even though the Foodini didn’t raise enough money on Kickstarter, there is no sign of 3D food printing being a one day fly. Printers come and go, and this year’s edition of Californian inventions festival Maker Faire welcomes a new food printer: the PancakeBot. As you might have already guessed, this machine can print you a pancake.
As this is a printer, it enables users to produce pancakes with highly complex shapes, such as the Eiffel tower. The team has created two versions of the printer, namely a LEGO version and an acrylic version. It’s the company’s goal to inspire kids to have fun with their food as well as develop interests in technical fields, such as engineering, programming and food manufacturing. In other words: kids learn something about science by creating a pancake. Didn’t hear that one before, did you?
Whether it’s Easter, Christmas or Valentine’s Day, one thing is for certain: big brands love to use the holidays for marketing purposes. Christmas is often mentioned in the same breath as Santa Claus, who was invented by Coca Cola, which is of course also the brand behind the the “Coca Cola” train ads during the Christmas holidays. On the other hand: don’t blame them, we would probably all do the same if we where directors of big companies. But: is it newsworthy? Not really. However, for this promotional stunt by Nokia we make an exception: this is #chokia.
The telephone company wanted to do something special during Eastern and therefore came up with #Chokia, a project where they 3D printed their logo in chocolate letters. The brand was quite ambitious about the project, as they asked a real chocolatier, Mark Jones, to produce the logo in chocolate. The chocolatier used software to create the logo, after which he used a 3D printer to print out the letters for real. Nokia then estimated the chocolate logo weighed approximately 30 grams and was 164 calories.
Recently Natural Machines made the news with more detailed specifications about their long-expected healthy food printer, which will be released later on this year. The news was remarkable, as food printing today mainly refers to producing less healthy products, such as chocolates, sweets and space pizzas. Now, only two weeks later, another party is trying the healthier side of food printing. And not just some party, because it’s the European Union, working on a food printer to prepare personalized meals for the elderly.
This project regards to an older target group, as in 2025 one in five citizens in the EU will be 65-years-old and over. The general problem with this group is that a lot of them will undergo difficulties swallowing their food. This condition is called dysphagia and studies show that today 15 to 25 percent of all people over 50 years suffer from such a condition. The problem however is that the same group has a higher risk of getting sick in some way, which often requires specialized diets. If someone can’t swallow properly, then that surely is a problem.
Last year’s December, we asked ourselves the question whether our future food will be 3D printed. Well, at the start of 2014 we were able to make some predictions about food printing trends for 2014. One of the companies mentioned in the article was Barcelona-based film Natural Machines, a company which distinguishes itself from the masses by the aim to produce a printer to prepare healthy food. Right now, they’ve created a prototype of their machine ‘Foodini’. Using this device, you can use your personal products to prepare your own cookies, breads, pizzas and decorations.
It works as follows: a food printers needs capsules to print out the actual food, and for all contemporary printers these capsules are pre-filled. The Foodini however does not use pre-filled capsules, but open capsules that users can fill with products of their choice. This shows the strength as well as the weakness of this new device, because all products need to be blended in order to become printing material. This means the printer will not be able to do all kitchen work for you, as you still have to blend the food yourself. And did you ever put a chicken in a blender?