Items on the menu include cricket pizza
Imagine exchanging recipes in the form of a piece of software instead of typed instructions on a website, and eating pizza with crickets on it instead of pepperoni.
This could be the future of long-term space travel, and even everyday life.
Anjan Contractor, who own Systems & Materials Research Corporation, has created a universal food synthesizer that uses a 3D printer to make food -- and he just received a six-month, $125,000 grant from NASA to create a prototype.
His prototype 3D food printer is based on a piece of open-source hardware called the second-generation RepRap 3D printer.
The universal food synthesizer would read recipes in software form, where instructions on how to make certain foods would be embedded. This software tells the 3D printer which powders to mix with which liquids.
The software will also be entirely open-source, so that others can look at the code and create recipes.
After the 3D printer "reads" the recipe, it uses a combination of powdered and certain liquid ingredients to make food layer-by-layer -- just like other 3D printed materials. Powdered forms of ingredients are used because they last longer.