NASA has helped lead the way to a glorious future: a 3-D printer that creates pizzas.
BeeHex, a start-up born out of a $125,000 NASA contract to find a way to use 3-D printing to make food for astronauts on their way to Mars, has recently announced that they have raised funding to launch their Chef 3-D printers in the U.S.
These 3-D printers can use raw dough and tomatoes to create personalized pizzas, including those in custom shapes, on the fly.
BeeHex founder and CEO Anjan Contractor decided to focus on pizza to prove a point to consumers that 3-D printers can indeed “cook,” according to Xconomy.
“It’s strategic; we realize going after all food types is not efficient,” Contractor told Xconomy.
“Also, we observed that personalization is the next big thing,” Contractor said. “Today, a family of four orders the same types of food, but we all have different needs. An older person may need more fiber; younger people can handle more fats.”
BeeHex’s 3-D printer works much like a common 3-D printer, but with cartridges full of food rather than plastics. The software tells the printer how and in what order to print the ingredients out. When the printer is finished making the pizza, the newly made creations are placed into an oven and cooked.
This technology will hopefully help fight against food rot, a major problem for years-long space flights. Taking out micro-nutrients that cause food spoilage and dehydrating the packed food would solve the issue, but turning that back into real food then poses a problem.
This is where technology like BeeHex’s 3-D printer would come in by synthesizing not-fresh powdered ingredients into more palatable end products, like pizza.
Although any long term space-faring craft is limited to not-fresh ingredients, they can store powder that 3D printers can turn into a delicious pizza.