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But what will we eat?

Public Group active 5 years, 7 months ago

Food stuffs. Agriculture. Nutrition.

3D printing your diet

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  • #1499
    Bruce Sterling
    Jeremy Lichtman

    Should probably be used in combination with fresh fruits/vegetables, in case they miss something that turns out to be important.

    James L. Cambias

    I don’t mean to sound snarky (well, not much) but aren’t we supposed to be thinking about attractive and inspiring visions of the future? Eating printed turkey and soybeans sounds positively dystopian — the postmodern equivalent of all those old “food pills” jokes from SF in the 1950s.

    If you look at the history of food, it has been one of expansion. Individual humans nowadays have a much broader range of available foods than they did a thousand years ago — even in poor, subsistence-farming societies. Africans and Asians grow corn and potatoes along with rice and manioc. Europeans eat tomatoes and peppers instead of spelt. Hell, the lust for dietary variety was arguably the driver for the Age of Exploration in the 15th-17th centuries.

    So visions of future food should be better than what we’ve got, rather than Soylent Green stopgaps to eke out a living. Who’s going to live on Mars if all they get is tofu?

    How can food be better than it is now? Not more efficient or sustainable, but more pleasurable and appealing?

    We’ve barely scratched the surface of adding psychoactives to food — typically it’s just a way to consume THC or opiates without your mom noticing the smell. What about a cuisine designed using functional MRI machines to pinpoint what flavors and textures produce the biggest response?


    3D food printers are more difficult to explain. Hod Lipson, director of Cornell University’s Creative Machines Lab, laid out the three dominant methods of printing food at the 2015 Inside 3D Printing conference in New York City, which are nozzles, powdery material, and lasers. “You can think of it as the ‘RGB of food,’” he told Digital Trends.

    Many systems mix and match those approaches. The 3D Systems ChefJet crystalizes thin layers of fine-grain sugar into virtually any geometric configuration, while Natural Foods’ Choc Edge dispenses chocolate from syringes in beautiful, melty patterns. The Foodini uses fresh ingredients loaded into stainless steel capsules to prepare a surprisingly wide array of dishes. Its latest model isn’t a soup-to-nuts solution — it only prints raw doughs, which then must be cooked as normal — but the printer can partially make pizza, filled pasta, quiche, and even brownies.


Viewing 4 posts - 16 through 19 (of 19 total)
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