The pizza deliveryman might be in trouble if Anjan Contractor’s 3-D food printer is a success.
His company, Systems & Materials Research Corp., has received a $125,000 grant from NASA to create such a machine. The agency awarded the money to the company after being impressed by a prototype chocolate printer.
QZ.com reports that NASA’s plan for Mr. Contractor’s creation is to be able to provide astronauts with healthful meals on long space missions, such as one to Mars.
“Long-distance space travel requires 15-plus years of shelf life,” Mr. Contractor said. “The way we are working on it is, all the carbs, proteins and macro- and micronutrients are in powder form. We take moisture out, and in that form it will last maybe 30 years.”
Currently, Mr. Contractor has a “pizza printer” in the conceptual stage that he will start production on in a matter of weeks.
According to QZ.com, the machine “works by first ‘printing’ a layer of dough, which is baked at the same time it’s printed, by a heated plate at the bottom of the printer. Then it lays down a tomato base.” Mr. Contractor said his tomato base is stored in a powdered form and then mixed with water and oil.
On a long enough time line, Mr. Contractor sees his invention as something that will help bring better nutrition to billions of people around the world, and to speed up the process, his 3-D food printer designs and code will be available to the public.
“One of the major advantages of a 3-D printer is that it provides personalized nutrition. … If you’re male, female, someone is sick — they all have different dietary needs. If you can program your needs into a 3-D printer, it can print exactly the nutrients that person requires,” Mr. Contractor said.