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3D printer can create new kinds of foods (VIDEO)

3D printer can create new kinds of foods (VIDEO)We're all accustomed to having appliances on our kitchen counters, from toasters and blenders to coffee makers and microwaves. If Mechanical Engineering Professor Hod Lipson has his way, we'll soon need to make room for one more - a 3D food printer that could revolutionise the way we think about food and prepare it.

Over the past year, Lipson and his students have been developing a 3D food printer that can fabricate edible items through computer-guided software and the actual cooking of edible pastes, gels, powders, and liquid ingredients - all in a prototype that looks like an elegant coffee machine.



The printer is fitted out with a robotic arm that holds eight slots for frozen food cartridges; the students are now working on incorporating an infrared heating element into the arm.

Lipson and his team aim to have their prototype printing much faster and more accurately by the end of the year, and, they hope, cooking as it prints, too. Unlike conventional oven cooking, their 3D printer will be able to cook various ingredients at different temperatures and different durations.

"Food printers are not meant to replace conventional cooking -- they won't solve all of our nutritional needs, nor cook everything we should eat," says Lipson. "But they will produce an infinite variety of customised fresh, nutritional foods on demand, transforming digital recipes and basic ingredients supplied in frozen cartridges into healthy dishes that can supplement our daily intake."

Lipson and his team are collaborating with New York City-based International Culinary Center (ICC), a top culinary school in the U.S. "We've already seen that putting our technology into the hands of chefs has enabled them to create all kinds of things that we've never seen before, that we've never tried. This is just a glimpse of the future and what lies ahead."
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