Open meals plan to teleport food to Space with 3Dprinting
you are in space, the blue jewel outside your reinforced window, the chef offers you food, lo and behold its mouth-watering sushi.
How did this come to be?
it’s the future and there’s a bit of a history lesson there is what the chef would say.
The future’s past is our present.
Humans have achieved space flight by sending animals
and people into said space and now.
With SpaceX launching their rockets a couple of months back and also planned launches in the next year,
humanity’s trip to the stars and eventual habitation among said stars are in the books
in the not so distant future.
To create a viable and conducive environment for habitation,
a food source is important, examples of such initiatives include the NASA
which seeks to develop a sustainable food source through unique processes.
Additive manufacturing is and has played an important part in this,
with 3d printing providing a fast and self-sustaining method
that will come into the process of creating a food source in space,
Japanese companies are now putting their minds together to
see if they can instantly teleport gourmet food to the heavens and far off places.
The project termed Open Meals,
led by the Japanese as powerhouse Densetsu,
is researching and creating 3D printers and base materials that can construct food,
in an attempt to achieve such food transfer in the next couple of years.
Launched in 2016 by Ryosuke Sakaki, an art director at Dentsu’s creative Planning Division 3, to create a unique approach in food preparation.
According to Sakaki’s roadmap,
by 2050 astronauts working on space missions will be able to enjoy sushi
made by famous chefs in Tokyo.
With a team of researchers and businesses joining in this project,
Sakaki is expanding the range of his quest to utilise cutting edge digital technologies to change the way people produce,
distribute and consume food.
At the heart of this initiative is 3D food printing
or additive manufactured food,
the application of industrial technologies to food.
The cost-effectiveness and ease of 3D printing have made
it a viable option for manufacturers and this has caused its expansion into new feeds such as bioprinting and food.
Sakaki’s concept was inspired by
how inkjet printers can print all kinds of posters,
photos and documents by using just four colours of ink: cyan, magenta, yellow and black.
He tried to use this process in creating food.
Sakaki selected bitterness, sourness, sweetness,
and saltiness as
the four key tastes,
and tested how the colour printing
process could be applied to making food.
He put such seasonings as vinegar and soy sauce into ink cartridges and tried “printing” food onto edible paper made from corn.
The test showed that the taste transformed as the ratio of the seasonings changed.
He thought that a database on how varying ratios of the basic tastes create specific flavours would make it possible to remotely reproduce food with a printer.
In the “sushi teleportation” project,
a specialized 3D food printer being produced in partnership with Yamagata University, and other organizations were used.
The printer has a water tank and cartridges that can be filled with materials to create tastes,
colours and nutrients,
and uses a gel-like material to create various textures.
Food dishes are produced by building up a series of small printed cubes
into the appropriate forms.
Technology for “food teleportation” would make it possible for people at different locations to enjoy the same dishes. Sakaki foresees that automatic cooking with a 3D food printer using data on various dishes will be the norm around 2030.
He even envisions a future in which all kinds of foods-
including exquisite dishes from famed restaurants
will be re-produced precisely printers.
That future will arrive around 2050, he says.