It’s a long way from a “Star Trek”-style replicator, but the 3D printer engineer Anjun Contractor used to print a square of chocolate got the attention of NASA, and now he and his company, Systems & Materials Research Corporation, have been given $125,000 to develop a version that will print other types of food, starting with pizza. Theoretically, the dough will be printed and baked first, and when it’s ready, the printer will add a layer of tomato sauce followed by a “protein layer” which could come from almost any animal or vegetable source. Contractor says he plans to keep the software open-source in order to encourage people to create their own innovative recipes.
What’s the Big Idea?
In addition to the obvious benefits of having a food synthesizer on the first manned mission to Mars, the technology could revolutionize how food is made and consumed on Earth. A society where synthesizers are as common as microwaves would enjoy customized meals made from cartridges of edible materials bought at the store. These materials would be shelf-stable for up to 30 years, which could reduce food waste considerably. Even more importantly, says Contractor, “current food systems can’t supply [an estimated future population of] 12 billion people sufficiently. So we eventually have to change our perception of what we see as food.”
Combining years of neurological research and mindfulness techniques, Dr. Heather Berlin helps us better understand how the body’s most complex organ can easily be misled into negative thinking - and how we can stop that from happening.
A study of participant data from the citizen science project GLOBE at Night shows that on average, people's observations of artificial night sky brightness were surprisingly accurate compared with satellites.