Have you ever seen The Big Bang Theory's 3D printer episode? Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) and Raj Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar) buy a used 3D printer after an internet purchase went south. The two of them justify their rather pricey purchase by deciding they can use it for some of their work projects. What they end up making is entirely different. In typical Big Bang Theory style, the two of them end up "printing" completely ridiculous, albeit adorable, things--miniature versions of themselves.
Just five years ago, 3D printing sounded like a far-fetched sci-fi idea, but just a few short years later, here we are. People are using them to print everything from gun parts to lollipops.
Yes, you read that right. You can now print food. Some creative culinary crafters are defying Mother Nature and using fruit juices to make 3D models of fruit. Does that make sense? Not really. The fruit is probably better. But, still, it is very cool.
We found a 3D printing lab that's printing sculptures with sugar. On their web site, 3D Systems says they can customize sweets just for you--"from sculptural, ornate cake toppers to personalized sugar cubes to sweeten your coffee, and everything imaginable in between." My very own personalized sugar cubes? Yes, please!
Recently, a food technologist (what an awesome job title!) in the Army told NPR it was studying the use of 3D printing in feeding soldiers. They foresee a scenario in which head-to-toe sensors detect a soldier's vitamin and mineral levels in real time. Then the machine prints food that will fulfill his or her body's needs. It sounds more glamorous than the standard MREs (meals ready to eat) and could be a real game changer.
We're likely several decades away from mass market food printing. Still, I'm not opposed to the idea of printing myself a slice of pepperoni pizza for dinner tonight.
Tell us: What do you think of 3D food printing: completely creepy or potentially revolutionary?