e THeL HAMMer IS A wrITer, LeC TUrer AND CAr TOONIS T BASeD IN CHICAGO.
natural and fresh. “We believe that in 10-15 years, 3D food printers will be a common kitchen appliance
in both home and professional kitchens, similar to how an oven or a microwave are common appliances
in kitchens today,” says Lynette Kucsma, co-founder/CMO, Natural Machines.
Foodini can print pizzas (with hand-placed toppings), raviolis, gnocchi, breadsticks, tartes, or
any sweet or savory food using a computer program for recipes and designs. Chef Paco Pérez, who
has four restaurants in Spain and one in Berlin, and Davide Oldani of Milan’s D’O are working with
Foodini, as is Barcelona chef Oscar Manresa. Foodini is also being used in America, Kucsma says.
the fusion prototype
Determined to advance 3D printing in leaps and bounds, Lipson and Columbia University
students are developing a revolutionary prototype printer designed to use and cook edible pastes,
powders, gels and liquids using computer-guided software and eight frozen food cartridges,
bringing the whole 3D food printing ingredient shebang together. In the early 2000s, when he
was at Cornell University, Lipson and his students were using multiple materials to find a way to
print batteries for 3D printed robots. He fell into 3D food printing when the students preferred
to experiment with cookie dough rather than toxic battery materials.
Now, new culinary adventures are under development, thanks to Lipson’s collaboration with
Eitan Grinspun, associate professor of computer science at Columbia University, who is developing
revolutionary software designed to simulate different ingredients at different temperatures and times
and to help people envision how these dishes will look.
Eager to integrate culinary and technical knowledge bases, Lipson and his students held workshops
at New York’s International Culinary Center, where students of Hervé Malivert, chef/director of food
technology, are working to create flavors, shapes, textures and food combinations as yet unknown.
benefits and complexities
Technology invariably offers both benefits and complexities. “In 20 years, you will be able
to download exquisite things from the Internet and cook them at home,” Lipson says.
Home cooks and experienced chefs could someday print the same complex dishes. Professional
chefs could devise dishes designed to send future foodies into bliss. Chefs could also become
computer artists and develop their food science chops. And thanks to recipes downloaded from
the Internet, Lipson revels in the fact that 3D printed dishes could be shared around the world.
On the health beat, he says, hopes are high for the creation of customized foods containing the
precise amount of nutrients, drugs and vitamins each individual needs. While in space, NASA
astronauts could have better nutrition. Seniors could have food customized to their nutritional needs.
“I can print a dessert that stops when it hits 200 calories,” Kucsma says.
Dutch scientist Kjeld Van Bommel is working to create sustainable proteins made from
insects and algae. Meanwhile, Dutch food futurist Chole Rutzerveld hopes to solve worldwide
health and food issues by designing foods in relationship to how we digest them.
Today, a woman could enter your restaurant in a lacy 3D printed dress and 3D printed shoes. Part
of her vertebrae could have been repaired using 3D printing technology. Your tables, chairs, plates
and silverware could all have been 3D printed. And, thanks to a giant 12-meter 3D printer called Big
Delta, your restaurant could have been built of 3D printed fiber and clay. Hershey’s is developing 3D
printed chocolate. PepsiCo’s potato chip division has explored 3D printing. So has Barilla.
The sky’s the limit. Unknown creators and culinarians might become culinary stars overnight.
Secret messages could be inserted inside 3D printed boxes. So could love notes.
“When chefs, mechanical engineers and roboticists collaborate, who knows what is not possible,”
above: yuebing—a Chinese
WILL WE SOAR OR SINK?
The 3D printing world assures us that
3D printing won’t eliminate chefs.
3D printed pizzas need humans to
add toppings. Hamburger patties and
buns can be 3D printed, but fresh
ingredients such as lettuce and tomato
must be placed by hand.
Burritobot, a 3D burrito printer
designed by Marko Manriquez for his
graduate student thesis at New York
University, can pipe out beans, cheese
and sour cream in amounts specified
on a phone app, but ingredients crucial
to mouthfeel, such as salsa, diced
tomatoes, chunky meat and hunky
guacamole must be placed by hand.
Meanwhile, London-based Moley
Robotics has created a robot that
mimics the flexibility and complexities
of human hands.
So eat, think, drink and be merry. The
future lies open. Everything changes