The MIT Food Printer

MIT’s Fluid Interfaces Group is working on the design of a concept device that if made popular, would revolutionize how we cook, eat and even socialize.

The device shown above (and don’t get your hopes up, that’s merely a conceptual image) would store a variety of raw food elements in cartridges. The cartridges would be swapped into the print head, which can hold several simultaneously. A 3D model, or “recipe” would drive the head to the right spots to deposit juicy material in a delicious pattern.

This “personal food factory” implies many things:

  • A new (or enhanced) 3D data format would have to be designed to accommodate for the new food and cooking oriented features – heat sequences, wait times, etc.
  • An ecosystem of recipe repositories would erupt, complete with rating systems, images and taste tests. And then: Pirate Food!
  • A highly competitive industry providing raw food materials would emerge, likely starting from home food designers, but moving up to industrial scale operations, too
  • Grocery store shelves would be stocked with Tassimo-like food factory cartridges, perhaps organized into “meal kits” containing all the ingredients and recipe files for themed events. We’d probably like the bean burrito package
  • iPhone apps would permit selection of meals remotely, allowing one to eat immediately after arriving home
And that’s not all. We can imagine digital food would fundamentally alter remote meetings and teleconferences too, when you can eat the same dainties as they folks on the other end.

Ominous statement at the website: “This project is currently starting.”


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