Creative Machines Lab Develops 3D Printer That Can Cook Like A Chef

Published on September 21, 2021 by Mikahila L.
Creative Machines Lab 3D Printed meat Chef

New York City, renowned for its world-class restaurants, now has a new rising chef on the food scene—a 3D printer! The Creative Machines Lab at Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science was able to use 3D printing technology to print and cook chicken. Results of the blind taste test revealed that with further development and research this technology may be a viable cooking option with broader industrial applications.

What we still don’t have is what we call ‘Food CAD’, sort of the Photoshop of food. We need a high-level software that enables people who are not programmers or software developers to design the foods they want. And then we need a place where people can share digital recipes like we share music,” said Professor Hod Lipson, Director of the Creative Machines Lab. The Creative Machines Lab builds robots capable of self-replicating, self-reflecting, asking questions, and expressing creativity. With these capabilities, it’s very likely we will be seeing more advanced results from this research team.

Creative Machines Lab 3D Printed meat Chef

Blue laser is used to cook the 3D bioprinted chicken. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Blutinger/Columbia Engineering)

Creative Machines Lab 3D Printer Chef

In order to cook the 3D-printed chicken samples, blue lasers and infrared light with pulsed heating were applied to the meat product and calibrated for a variety of parameters such as cooking depth, moisture retention, and of course, flavor. Each parameter was then analyzed independently and controlled during the research study while maintaining stringent food safety protocols. During the blind taste test, the majority of testers preferred the laser-cooked meat to those who enjoyed the conventionally cooked meat samples.

Combining additive manufacturing and software into the cooking process allows for creative food design and enables cooks to customize meals with precision. While 3D-printed food has been around since 2007, the research team proclaims this technology and their experiments have the ability to disintermediate food supply chains while generating horizontal markets in this growing industry. The research study entitled ‘Precision cooking for printed foods via multiwavelength lasers’ was published in the NPJ Science of Food academic journal. Learn more about this food project HERE.

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Cover Photo Credit: UnSplash

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