Not very long ago, the idea of going up to a machine, pressing a "hamburger" button and receiving a hamburger instantaneously seemed like something straight out of "Star Trek" or "The Jetsons." But with the advent of 3D food printing, that machine might be in kitchens very soon.
Scientists are already close to using 3D printing, the process of adding a material layer by layer to create an object, to create food for astronauts. But the technology could be useful on Earth as well. Dr. Jeffrey Lipton, a scientist at Cornell's Fab@Home lab, explained in a HuffPost Live segment how 3D printing can make food more exciting.
"We took masa dough and 3D-printed it into an octopus so that we can show kind of the artistic flair you can get with a 3D printer," Dr. Lipton said. "You could imagine also, instead of using masa dough you do it with celery puree, and now it's a lot easier to convince your kids to eat their vegetables because it's an appealing shape. Fun shapes don't have to just be for chicken nuggets."
The technology could also revolutionize modernist cooking. Scientists have already created margarita slushies served in ice cubes and olive-like spheres containing olive juice, and as Scott Heimendinger, director of applied research for Modernist Cuisine, explains, the possibilities are endless.
"One of the hallmarks of the modernist cooking movement is actually taking familiar flavors and presenting them in new or unusual textures. And in that area, 3D printing just has so much promise and holds so much excitement, to be able to take a familiar food and literally structure it into whatever formula."
Joining Lipton and Heimendinger in the conversation were host Josh Zepps and Michael Weber, the executive director of the Farm Animal Rights Movement.