Who hasn’t dreamed Returning home after a long day, just press a few buttons to get a hot home-cooked 3D printed meal provided by a digital personal chef? It may make microwave ovens and traditional frozen TV dinners obsolete. According to reports, engineers at Columbia University are trying to turn this fantasy into reality, and they have now figured out how to 3D print and cook multiple layers of chicken mash at the same time. A recent paper Published in the journal npj Food ScienceOf course, it is different from Star Trek Replicator, which can synthesize a complete meal on demand, but this is the beginning.
Co-author Hob Lipson manages the Creative Machine Lab at Columbia University, where research is conducted.His team first introduced 3D printing of food As early as 2007, the Fab@Home personal manufacturing system was used to create multi-material edible 3D objects with cake frosting, chocolate, processed cheese, and peanut butter. However, commercial appliances that can print and cook food layers at the same time do not yet exist.There are some studies investigating how to use laser, Lipson’s team believes that this may be a promising way for further exploration.
“We noticed that although the printer can produce components with millimeter-level accuracy, no heating method has the same degree of resolution,” Co-author Jonathan Bluttinger says“Cooking is critical to the nutrition, flavor and texture development of many foods. We want to know if we can develop a method to precisely control these properties using lasers.” They use blue diode lasers (5-10 watts) as the main heating Sources, while also experimenting with near-infrared and mid-infrared lasers and traditional ovens.
Scientists buy raw chicken breasts from local convenience stores and then puree them in a food processor to obtain a smooth, uniform consistency. They removed any tendons and refrigerated the samples before repacking the samples into the 3D printed syringe barrel to avoid clogging. The cooking equipment uses a high-power diode laser, a set of mirror galvanometers (devices that detect current by deflecting a beam of light), a fixture for custom 3D printing, a laser shield and a movable tray for cooking 3D printed chicken .
“During the initial laser cooking process, our laser diode was installed in a 3D printed fixture, but as the experiment progressed, we transitioned to a setup where the laser was installed vertically on the head of the extrusion mechanism,” the author wrote. “This setting allows us to print and cook ingredients on the same machine.” They also tried to seal the printed chicken in a plastic package before cooking.
result? Laser-cooked chicken retains twice as much moisture as traditionally cooked chicken, and shrinks by half while maintaining a similar flavor. But different types of lasers produce different results. Facts have proved that the blue laser is very suitable for cooking chicken inside under the surface, while the infrared laser is more suitable for grilling and roasting on the surface. For plastic-packaged chicken, the blue laser did achieve a slight browning, but the near-infrared laser is more effective in browning the chicken through the package. The team was even able to turn the surface of the packaged chicken into a pattern reminiscent of grill marks.