- by theguardian
- 09 May 2023
It was perhaps no surprise, when researchers set out to push the boundaries of 3D printing, that their attempts to rattle out cheesecakes were not immediately successful.
The first trial started well enough, but as the printer gradually built up the dessert, squirting one layer and then the next, the creation began to slump before quietly collapsing into a gloopy heap.
Despite the early setback, detailed in a research report on Tuesday, engineers at Columbia University pressed on and soon had the printer squeezing out puddings that were recognisable, if not quite irresistible.
A chicken paste roast might not appeal to foodies and fans of the craft of cooking, Blutinger believes that printed food is on its way, a natural consequence of software meeting the archaic, analogue world of cookers, steamers and frying pans.
Writing in the journal npj Science of Food, the researchers describe a 3D printer capable of constructing edible products from seven different ingredients. For the cheesecake, which took 30 minutes to squirt out, this meant biscuit paste, peanut butter, strawberry jam, Nutella, banana purÃ©e, cherry drizzle and frosting. The printer is armed with a blue laser to cook layers on the hoof if required.
On every scale, from food manufacturers to restaurants and homes, 3D printers might be the next step in automation, removing more people from the preparation process. Beyond the novelty value, Blutinger sees the technology as a way for people to track their calories and nutrients and to unleash their inner creative with radical new designs for foods that are shared as digital files on social media.
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