A collaboration between pasta-maker Barilla and research organisation TNO envisions restaurants where you can 3D print your own pasta shapes for a custom meal.
Imagine you went out to eat, and sat down to a meal of pasta shaped like the Batman logo. If a collaboration between Italian pasta-maker Barilla and Dutch research organisation TNO comes to fruition, restaurants could one day have 3D food printers that make this a reality.
According to Dutch news website Trouw, the two have been working on a fast, 3D food printer that prints pasta, targeted at the restaurant market. Diners could bring a USB stick containing their 3D designs, and chefs could plug-and-print on the spot.
Project leader Kjeld van Bommel told the website, "Suppose you are married for 25 years, you go out to eat and you want to surprise your wife with pasta in the shape of a rose. If you have a design with you on a USB flash drive, the printer can make it."
He told the website that the printer in its current form can produce 15 to 20 pieces of pasta in just two minutes — 10 times as fast as it was capable of two years ago. The team is currently working on increasing that speed to a workable restaurant level.
According to The Guardian, van Bommel, when pressed, said that the project was only in preliminary stages and refused to make any further comment. Given that the first kitchen-ready 3D food printer is due to hit the consumer market later this year, though, we can't imagine others will be terribly far behind. And pasta, made of malleable dough, seems a particularly appropriate material.
You can see images of the pasta and its printer on the original Dutch article.