Here’s an interesting thought: What if eating greener and more sustainably meant printing your meals? Marcelo Coelho and Amit Zoran, a couple ingenious minds at MIT, have come up with a way to do just that. Hailed as ‘The Cornucopia’, this 3-D printer concept is a personal food factory that fuses the digital world with the realm of cooking by storing, precisely mixing, depositing, and cooking layers of ingredients with no waste.
Cornucopias’ printing process begins with an array of food canisters filled with the “cook’s” foods of choice. After a meal selection has been made using the device’s multi-touch translucent screen, users are able to see their meal being assembled while simultaneously manipulating real-time parameters, such as calories or carbohydrate content. Each ingredient is then piped into a mixer and then very precisely extruded, allowing for very exact and elaborate combinations of food.
Once each ingredient has been dropped, the food is then heated or cooled by Cornucopia’s chamber or via the heating and cooling tubes located on the printing head. In fact, the ability to hyper-localize heating and create rapid temperature changes also allows for the creation of meals with flavors and textures that would be impossible to replicate with present-day cooking methods.
While we can’t vouch for the final taste, the printer does benefit from a compact shape and provides the user with ultimate control over the origin, quality, and nutritional value of every meal, with no packaging or excess food waste — a prospect which could appeal to locations or organizations struggling with ways to provide adequate and well-balanced meals to their populace.