It is possible that we will soon have our own digital personal chef who is ready to cook anything we want. The look, shape, texture and taste can be customized at the touch of a button. Columbia University engineers are working on this, using lasers for cooking and 3D printing technology to assemble food.
Under the direction of Professor of Mechanical Engineering Hod Lipson, the Creative Food Lab “Digital Food” team built a fully autonomous digital personal chef . Lipson’s group has been involved in the development of 3D printed foods since 2007. Since then, food printing has evolved into multi-component printing, for which researchers and some businesses are already exploring the possibility of a solution.
“We have observed that while printers can produce components with millimeter accuracy, there is no heating method. , which would be just as precise. Cooking in many foods is essential for the development of nutrients, flavors and textures, and we were wondering if we could use a laser to develop a method to precisely control these properties. “
In a new study published in the journal Science of Food, npj, the team examined different modes of cooking by exposing blue light (445 nm) and infrared light (980 nm and 10.6 μm) to chicken meat, which was used as a model food system. In the experiment, chicken samples (3 mm thick 2.5 x 5.0 cm) were printed and a range of parameters were examined, including cooking depth, color development, moisture retention, and taste differences between meat cooked with a laser and cooked on a stove. It was found that laser-cooked meat shrinks 50 percent less, retained twice as much moisture, and showed a similar taste development as conventionally cooked meat.
“In fact, two of our blind tasting testers preferred laser-cooked meat. traditional cooked samples, which shows the promise of this emerging technology, ”said researcher Jonathan David Blutinger. note that there is not yet a sustainable ecosystem to support it. According to Lipson, “what is still missing is what we call ‘Food CAD’, or Photoshop for food. We need a high level of software that allows people who are not programmers or software developers to design the foods they want. Then we need a place where people can share digital recipes, just as we share music. ”
Still, says Blutinger,“ food is something we all come in contact with on a daily basis and personalize. It therefore seems natural to incorporate software into our cooking to make food preparation more personalized. “
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