Exciting news for Star Trek fans: computerized food replicators may be soon coming to a kitchen near you, with 3D printers making your next steak, according to TakePart.com.
With three dimensional printing already recreating a number of items (including Stephen Colbert's head), researchers at Cornell University have created a printer that is able to recreate edible items such as cakes made with edible inks, in a process called “solid freeform fabrication.” And the researchers are now looking into creating synthetic meat and fish products, which could eliminate the incredibly inefficient and unethical practices inherent in industrial farming.
Already in the works are attempts at recreating meat in a lab, essentially growing the tissue without the brain or nervous systems. Similarly, the Cornell team is currently working on developing "scallop nuggets shaped like miniature rocket ships," that could be replicated through a printer, reports TakePart. "The process involves depositing cultures of living cells from a printer head, one layer at a time, and fusing them into a single, coherent living tissue." Like lab-grown meat, the 3D meat would decrease the amount of animal waste and greenhouse gases as well as eliminate animal suffering.
While the science and acceptance of regularly "printing" steaks for dinner is a long way from reality, supporters of the technology say printing food could bring massive reductions in food costs. According to TakePart, "Some say it could revolutionize the way we get “fast food,” giving us the ability to both design and make restaurant-quality meals without leaving the comfort of our own homes."
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