back to article Tea, Earl Grey, hot! NASA blows $125k on Star Trek 3D FOOD PRINTER

A small company in Austin, Texas, has received a $US125,000 grant from NASA to develop 3D printed food for astronauts. The challenges are multifold – not least among them producing something palatable out of a printer – but the idea is that with enough development, NASA might be able to come up with something that beats the …

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Flavors

Any combination of yellow, green, orange, white, pink, clove or brown on a particleboard base. Warm to suit taste... Alternatively squirt nutrient juice directly on Necco Wafers.

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Re: Flavors

oh, and you have to wait 3 hours for each biscuit to be printed.

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Re: Flavors

Will you get it for free if it takes longer than the advertised 3 hours?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Flavors

I still won't eat anything that tastes of toner and inkjet ink.

but I've never tasted inkjet ink

Well, now is your chance then..

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Paris Hilton

Re: Flavors

In The Matrix the saying was that "everything tastes like chicken, which is why chicken tastes like anything". Maybe inkjet ink tastes like chicken.

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Cat

I would make some sort of smart-ass comment, but all I can think of is a highly evolved, bipedal cat standing in front of this machine saying "Fish...fish...fish...fish...fish..."

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Re: Cat

You can't call Cat highly evolved any more than the cast of "Jersey Shore". He was the son of the village idiot and a TV weather girl...

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@Thorne

"You can't call Cat highly evolved..."

I accept your criticism, but will respond by retrospectively correcting my original statement. I meant to say "highly evolved dress sense". There, happy?

BTW, I forgot to add the link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkjbMoj0JY4

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Re: @Thorne

Too slow chicken marengo

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cat

"All six of my nipples are tingling!"

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Joke

Re: Cat

Rimmer: I said, "Touch nothing." Didn't I say, "Touch nothing?"

Lister: Look, I just ordered a shake and a crispy bar.

Cat: Lucky you didn't order a double cheeseburger!

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Re: Cat

Don't be ridiculous. The cat would clearly be saying "I can has cheezburger?"

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Anonymous Coward

Just like inkjet printers...

... they will soon run out of cheese and have only celery and bean flavors.

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You got the wrong model!

You gotta get the food printer with different flavours in different cartridges! The 4 flavours in the same cargridge is for noobs.

Anyway, your analogy is apt. The flavour and micronutrients cartridges are also more than likely cost a lot more than even current injet cartridges. And as we all know, the ink contained wihin those have been calculated to cost more than gold (by weight).

I thus had to laugh at the linked orginal proposal. Under the section marked 'POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS' (their shouting, not mine), they state "implementing technologies such as 3D printing, this may avoid food shortage, inflation, starvation, famine and even food wars". I think that is a slightly long bow to draw. I can't image this costing less than currently produced food.

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Pint

Re: You got the wrong model!

Key thing is that it will be cheaper and more appetising than the food they already take up.

Cost is relative. The ingredients can be dry and the water used recycled decreasing weight at take off which can cost $4000 - $40,000 / kg.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_elevator_economics

so a few kilos of weight saved will buy a lot of print heads.

Plus the food will 'appear' fresh so will make happy astronauts.

Also who is to say that the ingredients will be stored in expensive one off print heads, I suspect in 10 years time we will see chain Pizza restaurants selling printed pizzas ordered over the net. Probably delivered by robot scooters , they can't be any more of a danger than the existing pizza delivery riders!

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Joke

Re: Just like inkjet printers...

OUT OF CHEESE ERROR

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Just like inkjet printers...

"PC Load Cheese"? What the f**k does that mean?

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Re: Just like inkjet printers...

Pratchett reference deserves 50 upvotes. Sadly I may only give you one.

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Pint

Re: Just like inkjet printers...

+++Divide By Cucumber Error. Please Reinstall Universe And Reboot +++

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Re: Just like inkjet printers...

There are days when that seems both correct and the best course of action :) Got to love TP, so sad he's saddled with his current embuggerance.

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Re: Just like inkjet printers...

If it's anything like my printer, I'm betting you'll order a pizza and get 50 blank bases followed by the bottom third of a pizza.

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Happy

Forget the astronauts!

Downloadable pizza (recipes) for geeks!!

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handfull of generic ingrediants?

Flour. Water. Cheese. Tomatoes.

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Boffin

Re: handfull of generic ingrediants?

You forgot yeast. I would love to see what yeast does in a weightless environment.

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Yag

Re: handfull of generic ingrediants?

heh... guess what? Seems like you were not the only one...

http://www.nasa.gov/centers/ames/news/releases/2012/12-74AR.html

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Anonymous Coward

Re: handfull of generic ingrediants?

Better load up the Cranberry Juice cartridges...

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This is a kinda cool project...

...but to be honest, I'd be quite happy to slurp cardboard-flavoured nutrient paste from a tube in exchange for a trip to the ISS.

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Headmaster

Primitive Food Replicator

It sounds to me like a very primitive form of a "Star Trek" style food replicator. Walk up to the machine, tell it what you want and within a short time you have your freshly assembled meal ready to go.

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Re: Primitive Food Replicator

Can see problems coming (or should that be brewing) when they send the UK astronaut to the ISS in a couple of years time and he asks for a cup of burnt leaves in hot water!

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Joke

Re: Primitive Food Replicator

Won't it break the onboard computer?

Mine's the one with Hitchikers Guide in the back pocket...

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Headmaster

Re: Primitive Food Replicator

Earl Grey. Hot.

That should do it.

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Joke

Re: Primitive Food Replicator

Maybe you'd be surpised at receving a cup of tea when you actually wanted a sweating Viscount Howick.

Maybe that's why Picard has to prefix his request with 'tea'!

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Re: Primitive Food Replicator

I think the Japanese will made very damned sure that NASA's had that issue sorted out.

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Joke

Re: Primitive Food Replicator

almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea...

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Pint

Print me a pizza, I'll be back for breakfast!

Beer obviously as this goes so well with pizza :-)

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Coat

"Beer obviously"

How could they obtain beer in the ISS? Oh, wait...

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Windows

The inkjet will handle “micronutrients, flavour and smell” ... but everything will taste like ink.

Will it be able to produce "a concoction that is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea"?

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Coat

Is the recipe for the tomato-based topping an Open Sauce project?

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Nutrimatic Drinks Dispenser

But will it produce something that is "almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea"?

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Re: Nutrimatic Drinks Dispenser

Share and Enjoy

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Unhappy

Re: Nutrimatic Drinks Dispenser

"But will it produce something that is "almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea"?"

Probably.

But on the upside they'll have it licked in 3-4 generations.

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Stop

Pot Noodle, Bombay Bad Boy, hot...

If it's as slow as my Epson printer, by the time the printing of your "hot" Earl Grey has been completed... it'll be Earl Grey "cold".

Also, it's not exactly printed in Star Trek is it; it just kind of materialises under a hue of cool blue light with sparkly shimmery bits in it.

If this is the future of food then I'll pass thanks.

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Re: Pot Noodle, Bombay Bad Boy, hot...

More like original series food synthesisers!

But for drinks, surely its more powder + hot water than real printing.

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Re: Pot Noodle, Bombay Bad Boy, hot...

"Also, it's not exactly printed in Star Trek is it; it just kind of materialises under a hue of cool blue light with sparkly shimmery bits in it."

That's been explained away a few times as a microtransporter, rather than a printer - however if you think about the way a transporter supposedly works... (You'll never allow yourself to be put through one again)

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Coat

Printing in kale

Imaging digging through your preferences to choose printing in single flavor mode because you're low on everything else. Cleaning the print head should have fairly disgusting results too...

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Coat

Re: Printing in kale

Cleaning the print head should have fairly disgusting results too"

That's what Lister and Rimmer are there for.

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Re: Printing in kale

Pass me a 14B.

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Pint

Beer

Someone mentioned beer along with the assembled pizza? I just read about this beer concentrate. Our astronauts will be set:

http://www.patsbcb.com/beer-concentrate

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If the printer itself costs £125k......

Then the Cartridge must be somewhere around 200k......

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