How 3D Printers Could Change How We Eat

The past couple of years have seen much debate over the relative merits of 3D printers. To the uninitiated, these devices print out physical objects. You need a new bowl? Push a button and let it do its thing. The technology is mystifyingly cool. Now it threatens to get even cooler, with research into how it can be used to create food tailored to individual dietary needs.

Jeffrey Lipton, a researcher at Cornell University and chief technology officer at Seraph Robotics, is championing something called data-driven food. Essentially, this means 3D-printed food that is created to suit your day’s nutritional needs. If you wanted a cookie, but you’ve already had fat and sugar that day, the printer would whip up a full-sized treat that contained only what your body could healthily process. Potentially you could go to town on a dozen donuts with 75% less calories than usual.

The tech is a mix of 3D printing and cloud computing, assuming a future in which all of our daily activity levels are tracked via mobile devices. Apocalyptic? Maybe. Healthy? Definitely!