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3D printing is a manufacturing game-changer
Calling all carnivores: ever thought about getting a meat printer? Of hand-crafting delectable beef steaks at home from plant proteins, that have the same texture, appearance and flavor as real meat, only without the distasteful killing part?
3D-printed steaks and chicken could be on the menu in European restaurants as early as 2020, with home-spun meat printers available to the consumer within a few more years. Israel-based Redefine Meat is already using “advanced food formulations” along with “proprietary 3D printing technology” to make what it calls the “holy grail of alt-meat”, reports Tech Radar Pro.
The idea sounds absurd, but it’s not so far-fetched, as three-dimensional printing technology goes in directions no-one could dream of, prior to the launch of 3D printing in the 1980s.
Put simply, 3D printing is a progression of 2D printing, where a third dimension is added to the printing of images on a flat surface (a regular ink-jet printer), adding depth and allowing the printer cartridge to move in all directions. A digital file is first created using modeling software, then sent to the printer, depositing layers of the chosen material – often plastic or wax – to build up the final product. Other printing materials include plastics, powders, filaments, paper, and even human or animal cells – used in the cutting-edge new field of “bioprinting”.