Although we use many useful tools and machines in a kitchen that help us to make food faster, better and more comfortable, a revolution in cooking is coming. Mechanical Engineering Professor Hod Lipson and his students at Columbia University have created a new 3D printer for making food. It is able to work with various gels, powders, liquid and frozen ingredients to create eatable food. The new prototype does not aim to replace a human and all kitchen tools and machines we know today. It should be their supplement.
In the future, you should be able to download a digital recipe and the printer will make a food for you if all the ingredients needed are available. The 3D printer prototype has a robotic arm and eight cartridges for frozen ingredients. The team of researchers is working on infrared heating element that should be incorporated into the robotic arm. The printer can create very difficult shapes that are not easy to create using the conventional methods. It is kitchen experts turn now to discover what can be done using the 3D food printers.
The researchers see the future of 3D food printers especially in hospitals and nursing homes. For now, the students are playing with this machine and cream cheese is the most popular ingredient for 3D-printing. The printer can control the temperature for each ingredient and the duration of cooking. The researchers are also working on the better version of the software with volumetric material simulator which will predict the size and the shape of the food after it is cooked.