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A research team at Columbia Engineering in the USA has developed a method for cooking with a 3D printer and laser. The idea is that in the future we can get a robot chef who compiles a meal from a variety of ingredients and then fries the food using a laser. Or as the researchers put it: "Photoshop for food".
What the researchers do is take a piece of chicken and mix it in a blender. The puree is then printed with a 3D printer that can create a piece of meat of the desired size. Then two different types of laser fry the chicken.
The researchers use two types of laser, blue laser is best for frying the meat, while the red laser helps give the chicken an appetizing color. By using lasers, researchers can have much better control over how each part of the meat is fried than on a grill or in a frying pan.
"The preparation is crucial for the food's nutritional value, taste and consistency in many dishes. We wanted to see if we could use lasers to control these parameters in a very precise way", says Jonathan Blutinger who led the project, in a press release.
The first tests showed that the meat shrank less and was juicier than with traditional cooking methods. The taste was also satisfactory according to the taste tests, of which there currently only have been a few.
"The two people who performed a blind test actually preferred the laser-fried meat before the traditionally cooked one. So it bodes well for this technology", says Jonathan Blutinger.
There is still a long way to go before this invention turns into a commercial product, but at least the researchers have demonstrated that the technology to cook good food using lasers is available.