Researchers from Monash University’s Exertion Games Lab, Carnegie Mellon University’s Morphing Matter Lab, and Gaudi Labs in Switzerland have introduced the “Dancing Delicacies” computational food project.
This initiative seeks to transform meals into interactive experiences. Their latest achievement is a 3D printed plate designed with electrodes to manipulate liquid droplets through electrical voltage. This unique technology allows diners to watch droplets of sauce move basil leaves and garnishes in specific patterns on the plate. Alternatively, patrons can mix and match these droplets, curating their flavor combinations.
Historically, the intersection of food and technology isn’t new. Culinary experts have long explored innovative techniques, like molecular gastronomy and molecular mixology, to elevate dining experiences. For instance, the “Flor de Caco” dessert expands like a flower upon contact with hot chocolate sauce. Similarly, the “Disco Sour” cocktail undergoes a color shift when mixed with citrus, due to the pH-sensitive butterfly pea flower tea.
MIT’s Media Matters Lab, in 2014, developed a fork that morphed based on the user’s eating speed, and another that indicated water content in food through LED color changes.
In the realm of edible transformations, the CMU Morphing Matter Lab has been a notable contributor. They’ve developed flat pasta that assumes 3D shapes upon cooking and 2D films that evolve into 3D structures when absorbing water, with precise control achieved through 3D-printed cellulose strips.
You can see the Dancing Delicacies project at work in the video below.
“Cooking and eating is more than simply producing a dish and then facilitating energy intake,” said Floyd Mueller, a researcher at Monash.
“It is about sharing, caring, crafting, slowing down and self-expression, and Dancing Delicacies aims to highlight these virtues at a time when they are often forgotten. The integration of food and computing will transform how we understand both computing and food as not two very different things, but a new frontier that combines the best of both.”
The potential of merging food with technology is vast, and as advancements like the “Dancing Delicacies” project emerge, the culinary world stands on the brink of an era where dining transcends traditional boundaries, evolving into multisensory, interactive art.
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