Can you print food? That’s a tricky line to walk, but with 3D printing, the day of taking molecules and enzymes essential to food and combining them piecemeal is approaching. One startup thinks they’re on the right track, and have begun 3D printing fruits. Don’t get too excited, though, it may not be what you think.
Rather than seeing an actual piece of fruit like an apple or banana come out of your printer, the machine uses what’s known as molecular gastronomy. Pioneered by French Chemist Herve This, molecular gastronomy takes that which makes food delightful and encompasses it in an edible sphere.
When you combine citric or alginic acid to a liquid, then drop it into a water bath with calcium chloride, the two chemicals react, and the citric acid forms a barrier between the liquid and chloride. What you’re left with is small spheres that taste just like the liquid, but can be handled gently in your hand, or eaten with a spoon. Int he video below, you see the machine "replicate" a raspberry.
The actual replication isn’t the newsmaker here; the 3D printing is. We typically see 3D printers produce hard plastics or rubberized materials. We rarely see a machine producing anything liquid, much less edible. This 3D printing method takes something mildly tedious and automates it, which is nice. We've seen 3D printers produce hard materials, typically sugary confections, but nothing like this.
While we’re a long way from seeing a computer replicate actual food in any visceral, familiar way, this may be the start of something very interesting. As 3D printing grows, we’ll look to innovation like this to catapult new methods into the forefront.
Via: Digital Trends