NASA has given a six-month grant to a company developing what could be the world’s first 3-D food printer. And the project’s developer, reports Quartz, an online digital news site, believes the invention could be used to end world hunger.
Quartz explains that the printer is the brainchild of mechanical engineer Anjan Contractor. Being developed by Contractor’s company, Systems & Materials Research Corp., it will use proteins, carbohydrates and sugars to create edible food products.
Contractor says one of his primary motivations is a belief that food will become exponentially more expensive in the near future. The average consumer, he told Quartz, will need a more economically viable option.
Some alternative food source options that may be used with the printer include algae, duckweed, grass, lupine seeds, beet leaves and even insects, according to TNO Research, which is working with Contractor on the project.
“I think, and many economists think, that current food systems can’t supply 12 billion people sufficiently,” said Contractor. “So we eventually have to change our perception of what we see as food.”