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Systems and Materials Research Corporation (SMRC) 3D Printing Food for Space Missions
Systems and Materials Research Corporation (SMRC) is developing technology for 3D printing food for space missions. Astronauts typically do not get the type of food that we take for granted here on earth every day. They get food in pouches that has very different flavor and texture compared to the food we eat daily on earth. Also storing the food in the pouches for long term causes degradation in its nutrients.
SMRC is using 3D printing technology to provide astronauts in space with food similar to what we eat here on earth. Also, their technology introduces nutrition supplements to compensate for any degradation due to long storage. Also, if someone fell sick in space, their technology will be able to 3D print therapeutic food.
SMRC has demonstrated the technology by 3D printing pizza. The 3D printer first dispenses pizza dough on a hot plate. The dough is cooked and then pizza sauce and cheese is dispensed. This technology could be critical if we had long term space missions in future, for example, a mission to Mars.
3D Printing Food
A company called Natural Machines has introduced Foodini, a 3D printer for food. Foodini is a 3D printer that uses edible ingredients to 3D print food items. Foodini can make salty, sweet, savory, or other types of food. Foodini is connected to the internet. A user interface allows a user to select what they want to print and the user interface lets the user know what ingredients need to be put in each capsule. Currently the user loads ingredients into the 3D printer. However, Natural Machines is working with food manufacturers to create ready made capsules that can be loaded into the 3D printer. The current version of the 3D printer simply 3D prints the food which then has to be cooked. Natural Machines is developing a version of the 3D printer that will produce cooked food.
“You’re not gonna walk into a kitchen appliance store, see a 3D food printer and say ‘Hey I need one of those, let me buy one!'” Ms. Lynette Kucsma, the co-founder of Natural Machines, a Barcelona said , “It’s too new of a concept, people don’t know what it is.”
Consumers in more than 80 countries have expressed interest in the device. At about $2,000.