NASA taps 3-D printer firm for ‘Star Trek’-style food replicator

By Stephen C. Webster
Tuesday, May 21, 2013 14:00 EDT
google plus icon
"Stock Photo: Portrait Of Happy Family Spending Time In Pizzeria" on Shutterstock: http://tinyurl.com/l9r7ad9
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Email this page

U.S. space agency NASA has tapped 3-D printer firm Systems & Materials Research Corporation (SMRC) to create the first-ever “Star Trek”-style food replicator using 3-D printing technology.

According to Quartz, NASA gave the company a six month, $125,000 grant contract to focus on developing 3-D printers that use cartridges full of carbohydrates, protein powders and oils that can be combined in layers to produce food.

The tech could dramatically cut down on food waste here on Earth while making it much easier to transport nutrients in bulk through space. Grocery stores could be gradually transformed to ultra-cheap cartridge retailers while non-nutrient edible products are phased out by market forces.

Of course, that’s all a radical, highly speculative version of the future, but it’s what SMRC mechanical engineer Anjan Contractor envisions for 3-D printed foods. He’s already successfully used a 3-D printer to spit out chocolate bars; an admittedly rudimentary accomplishment.

One day, however, more advanced printers could be used to customize nutrition for individuals, and whole meals could be downloaded over the Internet. But that’s all still fantasy until SMRC, or some other company, steps up to fill this void that most people don’t even know exists.

["Stock Photo: Portrait Of Happy Family Spending Time In Pizzeria" on Shutterstock.]

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
By commenting, you agree to our terms of service
and to abide by our commenting policy.