3-D printing: Imagining the possibilities

by Jeff Gelski
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Barilla 3D pasta printer

Transforming pasta

The pasta company Barilla, which is headquartered in Italy, but has its U.S. offices in Northbrook, Ill., is using a 3-D printer to create custom pasta shapes. Barilla has partnered with TNO, the Dutch Research Center (Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research) to develop a 3-D pasta printer that is able to produce fresh pasta in 2 minutes using dough prepared with durum wheat semolina and water. Pasta shapes such as vortices, moons and roses are possible.

The Tangible Media Group at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass., has developed a concept called “transformative appetite” in which edible 2-D films made of common food materials like protein, cellulose or starch are transformed into 3-D food during cooking. Water absorption triggers the transformation.

A “flat packaging” concept may reduce shipping costs and storage space. Pasta, for example, may be flat during shipping and then transform into shapes like macaroni or rotini upon water hydration.

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