Entries in food (41)
by General Fabb
At a recent conference 3D Systems President and CEO Avi Reichental spoke of his company's efforts to produce a true chocolate 3D printer. While the project was classed as "Not Soon", it does indicate significant interest in 3D food printing.
We also understand that 3D Systems' main competitor, Stratasys, has applied for a couple of patents related to 3D printed chocolate designs, according to their abstracts:
An additive manufacturing system for printing a chocolate confection, the system comprising a platen, a recirculation loop configured to circulate a flow of a chocolate material, and further configured to maintain a temper of the chocolate material; and a print head the print head being configured to receive at least a portion of the chocolate material from the recirculation loop, and further configured to extrude and deposit the chocolate material onto the platen to print at least a portion of the chocolate confection based on the commands from a controller.
The significant thing is that BOTH of the major 3D printing companies are now actively exploring 3D printed food. This means there's a high probability that we will eventually see 3D food printers of some type at an unknown point in the future.
While 3D printed plastic objects are thrilling, particularly to 3D print newbies, we've noticed that people get most excited when the idea of "food printing" comes up. People are very interested in food printing, perhaps because it is the one item for which we are all "makers".
We're expecting both Stratasys and 3D Systems to deeply investigate all aspect of food printing, as pioneered through their chocolate ventures. They'll develop software and hardware that ensure food safety, stores and delivers food "material" and concoct technically viable and hopefully delicious recipes.
This week's selection is "Strain My Tea" by Shapeways creator sbf54. This item is both attractive, functional and practical, making it an excellent choice.
Using the teacup is straightforward: pull your teabag into the upper chamber to strain it out and then enjoy your hot beverage.
Strain My Tea is available on Shapeways for purchase at a price of USD$98. The cup is printed using Shapeways' glazed ceramic materials in Avocado Green, Pastel Yellow, Eggshell Blue, Satin Black, Gloss Black or the white Glazed Ceramic.
Our preference? White. Teacups should always be white, shouldn't they?
Modern Meadow is 3D bioprinting startup developing a method of 3D printing "meat and leather" ultimately for human consumption. They combine advances in biotech with 3D printing to eliminate the need for real animal food production, which is hugely energy intensive.
Recently Modern Meadow's Andras Forgacs performed a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything). The discussion is fascinating and detailed. Here are the key points we noticed:
The input are largely animal cells (muscle, fat and a couple other types - taken from a donor animal through a biopsy) and cell culture media (a soup in which the cells grow made of amino acids, vitamins, minerals, salts, sugars) and then energy to run the process. Output is muscle tissue that is then matured/conditioned until it is processed into meat products.
We are currently growing muscle cells in roller bottles (suitable for anchorage dependent cells) and cell culture medium. Then we separate out the cells from the medium (via centrifuging) and assemble 3D tissues using bioassembly techniques such as bioprinting.
I've tasted it as have my colleagues. We've only been able to have small bites since we're still working on getting the process right.I cooked some pieces in olive oil and ate some with and without salt and pepper. Not bad. The taste is good but not yet fully like meat. We have yet to get the fat content right and other elements that influence taste. This process will be iterative and involve us working closely with our consulting chefs.
Real steak is a big stretch. It won't be the first product since steak is very hard to make for now. Instead, the first wave of meat products to be made with this approach will likely be minced meats (burgers, sausages, etc.) and pates (goose liver pate, etc.). Also seafood is an early possibility since the texture requires may be easier to achieve than premium cuts.While I doubt anyone will make commercial quantities of premium steak within 10 years, we will eventually get there but it will be an Nth generation product.
There are people working on "de-extinction", namely reconstructing the genomes of extinct passenger pigeons, mammoths, etc. Check out: http://tedxdeextinction.org. We have discussed the idea of growing leather from extinct (or rare or endangered) species. The idea of doing the same with meat is also possible. Mammoth steaks anyone?
There's much more in the AMA, which we encourage you to read through.
We've always sensed that 3D printed food will be a big thing - that is the topic that many people get most excited about. However, up to now it's been 3D printed turkey cubes and chocolates. We're a lot more interested in that Mammoth steak.
Via Reddit (Hat tip to James)
Image Credit: Wikipedia
A science-fictiony proposal in Wired suggests future astro-colonists could feast on dishes prepared by 3D food printers.
The concept seems like a good one; current astronauts are subjected to freeze-dried packets of former food, brought back from the dead by injection of lubricating water. While astros put on a brave face when describing their food, one can only imagine how terrible it must be, particularly for long-duration expeditions.
Can we solve this with 3D printing? We're skeptical. Currently food printers are only experiments and speculation. Most experiments involve only a single print material, erm, foodstuff. While 3D printed food items may be technically edible, they tend to lack the attractiveness of properly prepared food: Consider the questionably delicious 20mm deep fried turkey cube image above, an early food printing experiment. Perhaps more culinary experts should assist the engineers working on food printing?
A useful space 3D food printer (did we just say that?) would have to be capable of printing in multiple foodstuffs, offer a variety of cooking options, be entirely food safe and operate in a weightless environment without creating spaceship hazards such as grease fires, etc.
That's a very tall order for anyone working on the topic. And we're unaware of anyone doing so.
Even if a "space 3D food printer" were developed, there's a major problem: print time. As Fabbaloo readers know, 3D printing just isn't very fast and those waiting in line for their dish to be printed will not be happy. It's more than likely astronauts will starve.
Yay food packets!
The Shibuya Fabcafe in Tokyo is offering a very special service for two days in February: they'll enable you to produce chocolates with your face on them!
Wait, how does this work? You first get your face scanned by the FabCafe's scanner. After some 3D model fixing, they 3D print a prototype of the chocolate shape using a conventional 3D printer. This object is then used to form a negative silicone mold that can be used to form the chocolates. Just pour in some melted goodness and wait for it to solidify.
The workshop is offered on February 2nd and February 9th, according to the Japanese translation we're reading. It seems that the February 2nd event is for women only and the mold is delivered to you (to keep) the following day. Sounds like their 3D printer will be busy overnight!
So for a mere 6000 Yen (USD$66) you can make yourself as many valentine chocolates of yourself as your partner can eat.
Via ITMedia (Japanese)
Those researchers at the University of Washington took a break from casting ceramics, glass and other inedible substances to experiment instead with more tasty material using "food friendly molds".
Unfortunately their choice for shape was, um, themselves! They carefully captured full-body scans using a Microsoft Kinect and designed a negative mold and 3D printed it.
Of course, you're thinking that such a mold would NOT be food safe. And you'd be right. They solved that issue by pouring "food-grade Silicone mold material" into the 3D prints.
Into these food-safe molds went melted Gummi Bear material, now reformed into the shape of University of Washington students. The experiment was more or less a success, as you can see above.
If your mold works, you can use it again and again, as long as you have a supply of Gummi Bears. Our supply never seems to last very long.
Via Open 3DP
It is Christmas today and courtesy of Ralf Holleis we have 3D printed cookies for readers.
Holleis' team used an UNFOLD Plastruder to 3D print several styles of Rhino-modeled holiday cookies directly onto wax paper. The wax paper allowed the fragile extrusions to be easily moved into an oven for finishing, erm, cooking.
Be sure to watch the video at the link below, as you can observe the entire process from installation of the plastuder, extrusion, cooking and of course, the eating.
Via Ralf Holleis
How simple is a Sake cup? What could transform such a straightforward object into the unusual?
Ovidiu Opresco's idea was to blend the concept of a an endless Mobius strip with the cup to create a very unusual piece. The cup is functional - and even includes a mobius-filling port on the top, separate from the drinkable vent. Be careful: while the Mobius portion may be endless, the capacity of the cup is not!
You cannot download and print this model yourself, but it is available for purchase on Shapeways. We priced out a beautiful Avocado Green Ceramic version at €48.25, or around USD$62.
Essential Dynamics has announced a new version of their non-plastic 3D printer to replace their first model.
The Imagine 3D printer is a little different from most commonly available personal 3D printers. It's an extrusion based device that doesn't use melted plastic as its material. Instead the Imagine uses any extrudable substance by mechanically squishing them thru syringes. This means, for example, you could print using food, such as peanut butter, cookie dough or soft chocolate. Or finely minced meat. Yes, meat.
The new device is improved over the original and offers:
- A 8.75" x 8.75" build area
- Lighter weight (now 30 lbs)
- Preloaded designs
- Includes a selection of syringes and tips (optional 25-pack available)
- Resolution is 2x the syringe nozzle diameter
We think this kind of device could lead to much kitchen experimentation, particularly as you have the freedom to choose almost any malleable substance at hand. Or available at your local grocery.
The fully assembled unit is available starting August 20th and is priced at USD$1,995.
Incredible as it might seem, Google apparently has a 3D printer in its kitchen - and it produces pasta, according to a report on WebProNews.
In a video interview Google chef Bernard Faucher admits they operate some type of 3D printer in their kitchen to produce unique pasta shapes for hungry Google staffers. Faucher says:
When I cook with it, my food has a distinct and customized shape.
We're wondering about the nature of the mysterious pasta printer. We don't know what kind of 3D printer this might be, but it is likely something others would enjoy using, too. Yes, it's likely such a device could exist: pasta is a very extrudable substance. It could be extruded into a variety of appetizing pasta shapes fairly easily.
But we think there's a problem with this approach. A kitchen like Google's would have to produce a large quantity of custom pasta each day. In fact, even a single bowl of pasta could require hours of pasta-printing to produce.
Perhaps it's just for special orders, right Sergey?