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Are At-Home 3D Printers the Future of Home Cooking?

Researchers at Columbia are working on a device that cooks while it prints

Timothy Lee Photgraphers/Columbia Engineering Facebook

Will 3D printing soon be a viable option for home cooks? According to 3ders, a research team at the school is working on a “3D food printer capable not only of creating nutritional, and beautifully composed edibles, but also capable of cooking the ingredients.”

The design, conceived by two Columbia students, includes “a robotic arm equipped with eight slots that can fit frozen food cartridges, and will soon also be equipped with a cooking element.” A clear exterior allows users to see the inner workings of the machine. It’s only about the size of a standard coffee-maker, so it would fit fairly seamlessly in even a small home kitchen.

Manufactured food technology has been on the rise in recent years, though at-home devices have veered more toward gimmicky than practical. This one seems to fall into the latter camp, though — at least, that’s the aim. The Columbia team has teamed with New York’s International Culinary Center (ICC) to determine what sorts of ingredients work best with the printer.

Hod Lipson, the mechanical engineering professor leading the project, told the told the Huffington Post that the device isn’t meant to replace conventional cooking, but to “produce an infinite variety of customized fresh, nutritional foods on demand, transforming digital recipes and basic ingredients supplied in frozen cartridges into healthy dishes that can supplement our daily intake.”

While frozen cartridges might not exactly sound delicious, they could prove helpful in feeding large numbers of people in places like hospitals.

Watch the 3D printer in action, below:

Columbia Scientists Are Developing a 3D Food Printer That Can Cook Your Food [3ders]

Scientists Are Developing A 3D Food Printer For the Home [Huffington Post]

Dinner in 3D [Columbia]

All Tech Coverage [Eater]

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