Now, print instant meals to tackle hunger

December 26th, 2010 - 3:49 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Dec 26 (IANS) First there were meals we had to make all by ourselves. Then ‘readymade’ meals came along, making life that much easier. But what if you could just print your dinner using food ‘ink’?

Scientists at the Cornell University in New York are developing a commercially viable 3D food printer which uses raw ingredients inside syringes.

Part of their Fab@home project, an open-source collaboration, you just put the raw food ‘inks’ into the machine, load the recipe (or ‘FabApp’) - and press the button, the Daily Mail reports.

The design takes the form of a set of syringes that deposit food inks line by line, and layer by layer, according to an electronic blueprint, according to a Cornell statement.

The blueprint states exactly what materials go where and are drawn up using traditional engineering computer-aided design (CAD) software. And the implications of the technology could be far-reaching.

Doctors could prepare special dishes to suit their patients’ dietary needs. Project leader Jeffrey Ian Lipton said: “FabApps would allow you to tweak your food’s taste, texture and other properties.”

“Maybe you really love biscuits, but want them extra flaky. You would change the slider and the recipe and the instructions would adjust accordingly.”

The inks are currently limited to ‘anything that can be extruded from a syringe’ - such as liquid cheese, chocolate and cake batter.

But the team is working on ways to turn other ingredients into syringe-friendly materials. So far, they have had some success creating cookies, cake and ‘designer domes’ made of turkey meat.

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