As technology continues to advance, using 3D printers to create food is not only becoming probable, it is becoming definitive. This is largely due to Jeffrey Lipton, a doctoral candidate at Cornell University, and his colleague Hod Lipson, who have developed data driven cookies.
Data driven cookies are created based on nutritional requirements determined by individual’s height, weight, body mass index, daily schedule and daily caloric deficit. Even though the completed cookies appear identical, they are composed of unique ingredients based on individual nutritional requirements.
Although at present this technology is prohibitively expensive, Lipton believes it could have massive benefits in the future. Other scientists agree, as scientists at both the University of New Zealand and a research institute in the Netherlands are also exploring the possible benefits of this technology.
These will specifically assist individuals with particular diet constraints, such as the elderly or people with diabetes. Furthermore, restaurants could benefit by reducing the incidence of food poisoning, as 3D printers could be trained to prepare food in a specific way. Chefs could also cater their recipes to diner’s health records and limit quantities of fat, sodium or other diner preferences.
While Lipton believes 3D printing will eventually encompass several types of food, he anticipates that novelty items, such as cake and chocolate will gain popularity the fastest. Aside from these areas, he has also succeeded in creating different types of food such as scallops and hamburgers.
As 3D printers begin entering more consumers’ homes, it is likely that the pressure to develop 3D printed food will continue to increase. Being a first mover in this rapidly developing industry certainly has its advantages, and explains why large 3D printing companies, such as Stratasys have begun applying for patents to protect this technology. Would you be open to 3D printing your meals in the future? What implications will this have on society?