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As We See It

A machine that prints food? Believe it

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The Fab@Home project at Cornell University.
Dan Cohen

After the cloned sheep incident in the ’90s, there was a lot of talk about the cataclysmic consequences of messing with nature. You’d think a machine that prints seafood nuggets might freak people out, but reaction to the snacks fabricated by Cornell University’s Fab@Home project is a resounding, “Pass the tartar sauce!” The 3D food printer is just one product of the open-source mass-collaboration aimed at inventing ways around everyday hassles (like frosting cookies and molding ice cubes into rabbit figurines). Rather than replace humans in the kitchen, it’s meant to “inject skill into the process” of cooking with any substance that can flow through a computer-programmed syringe. When it “extrudes” a crab leg, maybe Vegas will care.

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Erin got her first newspaper job in 2002 thanks to a campfire story about Bigfoot. In her award-winning work for ...

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