If meat is printed in your kitchen rather than butchered in a slaughterhouse, is it vegan? This is one of many questions raised by a conceptual appliance which uses solar energy and a 3D bioprinter to make the most efficient and delectable meat this side of Utopia. Designed by German design students Sarah Mautsch and Aaron Abentheuer, the Cultivator is a tool intended to provide flavor and nutrition for carnivorous consumers while reducing the environmental costs of meat production.
The Cultivator was envisioned as a home appliance for the middle class, which Mautsch and Abentheuer assume will be eating less meat in the future. As meat presumedly becomes a smaller part of the typical diet, the Cultivator serves as a simple source for meat in moderation. However, the finished product would not be derived from any living creature but instead bioprinted from an advanced 3D printer. The Cultivator’s product would not necessarily manifest in the shape of a chicken wing or fish fillet. As future food often is, the bioprinted meat would take the form of an arbitrary shape, such as a cube or rectangle. In the future, form is futile. What matters in this design is the delivery of proper nutrients and flavor.
Livestock production accounts for 14.5 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions, a number that would significantly drop if the Cultivator reached a mass market. The land required for raising livestock would also be freed for other uses. Going the extra mile, the self-sufficient Cultivator is powered by solar energy, minimizing its environmental impact to near nothing. The pursuit of bioprinting organs is already yielding promising results and the artificial production of other organic matter like meat is not far behind. While the Cultivator is only a conceptual prototype, it may herald a new era of bioprinting burgers for lunch and synthetic steak for dinner.
Images via DesignCurial