Digital Cuisine, 3D Chefs and Printers

By Kate

Food ink beta from the French Culinary Institute

New possibilities are cooking up when it comes to food . . . and 3D.  So move over microwave, it’s time for something geekier: the 3D food printer! 

At least two labs are developing 3D food printers, and I’m starting to salivate. 

The Fab@Home 3D Food Printer

According to the Designboom article:

“Although they are in no way limited to food, Fab@Home machines have already been used to print chocolates, cookies, and even domes of turkey meat. While previous models have typically used only one syringe, the Cornell team is now working with them in multiple, to permit the combination of diverse ingredients in precise proportions.

Currently, only liquids and gels can be used as cartridges, and the researchers have already experimented with cheese, cake batter, chocolate, and dough. Promisingly, current research that involves mixing raw foods with hydrocolloids, creating a gel, may soon expand the repertoire of foods that can be used in the machine.”

  • MIT Media Lab designers Marcelo Coelho and Amit Zoran have invented a similar concept design called “Cornucopia: Digital Gastronomy.” This has hit the interest zone for the likes of BBC, Wired and others, but I find the Gizmag article the most complete. 

MIT Media Lab's Cornucopia Digital Fabricator

Gizmag journalist Loz Blain explains how Cornucopia works:

“The printing head moves on a 3D axis, and extrudes precisely mixed and measured quantities of different ingredients from the canisters on top of the machine. Ingredients can be mixed as they come through the printing head, which is also able to precisely temperature-control the mix as it prints using a laser heating and piped cooling system.

The printed food output sits inside a temperature-controlled chamber that finishes the rest of whatever cooking or cooling needs to happen before the dish is done, and the device lets you know when it’s time to eat.

The ingredient canisters are refillable or automatically re-orderable, and provide constant feedback on stock levels or ingredients that are going out of date as well as offering smart alternatives if you’re low on something.”

My take
New trend?  Yes, and a worthy one.  Aside from molecular cooking, I haven’t been exposed to anything this exciting in cuisine-land since I exploded eggs in our family’s first microwave. 

And why not benefit from developments in CAD and 3D printers to add dimension to your mealtime?  I can imagine all kinds of job conversions from 3D designers to 3D chefs. 

Speaking of, I’d really like to have a chat with the people developing these concepts to find out what software they’re using.  Blain mentioned “3D recipe design” and “recipe files,” and isn’t this really direct modeling 3D software with work instructions? 

A 3D Chef will need to sculpture her ideas, not code them, so we’ve got to get them using something like 3DVIA Shape to concote their recipes.  ;-) 

What do you think about this?  Do you know of any other examples in the cooker? 



Desjoyeaux’s Crash Box and 3DVIA Composer

By Marc

Ten days into the Barcelona World Race (a doubled-handed race around the world which started on December 31st), Michel Desjoyeaux called his technical team in France to inform them of a problem on his boat. He and his sailing mate François Gabart had hit an Unidentified Floating Object (UFO) which ripped the carbon material off the boat’s crash box.

The crash box is a relatively new addition to offshore sailboats. It’s a watertight box filled with high density and extremely resistant PVC.  Normally  in the case of such a frontal collision, the crash box  would protect the boat’s lower stem from damage.  This is important to prevent leaking, and ultimately sinking.

UFOs pose an increasing problem for boats at sea, so the crash box works as a bumper. However Michel Desjoyeaux and François Gabart had to repair their crash box to avoid any further problem that could’ve forced them to abandon when entering the South Seas.

Michel and François were not too far from Brazil when the problem appeared, so they quickly decided to organize a ‘pit stop’ in Recife. Within 48hours, part of the technical team arrived in Recife to prepare all the logistics. They needed to find the best place to lift the boat and repair it. At the same time, a brand new PVC part was manufactured in case they needed to replace entirely the crash box.

The technical crew planned two repair options. If the PVC part was damaged, the whole crash box would be replaced. If only the carbon material was damaged, then they would simply cover the existing foam with new carbon material.

Thanks to 3DVIA Composer, the video below was sent by Michel Desjoyeaux and his team to the press so they could understand what exactly was planned to fix the boat. 3DVIA Composer could also have been used between Michel and his team to share and better understand the problem or even to train the Brazilian correspondent on how to repair the crash box. This is a good example of how 3D can be a universal language!

YouTube Preview Image

Eighteen hours after their arrival in Recife, Michel and François were back into the race with a “new” boat nose. And within just 5 days, they were leading the race, having gained 9 positions in the ranking!

If you want to learn more on how Dassault Systèmes helped Michel Desjoyeaux, check out the dedicated website at

Thanks to 3DVIA Virtools, you will also have the opportunity to get on board the 60 foot monohull in real-time 3D and even participate yourself to the Barcelona World Race with Michel Desjoyeaux in a 3D experiential serious game.  We will tell you more about this serious game soon and in the meantime, you can follow Michel Desjoyeaux’s ranking in the real race.



Marc Pavageau is Dassault Systèmes’ online marketing and communication director.

Khufu Reborn Project Is Top Secret

By Kate

Some things remain Top Secret even when you’re on the inside.  This is the case for me and Khufu Reborn, aka Kheops Revealed Part Two. 

Next Thursday morning I will attend Jean-Pierre Houdin’s and Dassault Systèmes’ conference at La Géode.  I’m told we’ll learn more secrets about how The Great Pyramid of Kheops was built. 

Top Egyptology bloggers like Keith Payne and Marc Chartier will be with us, digesting, analyzing and blogging about the presentation as only experts can.

Quoting Keith’s latest post, here’s a hint of what’s to come:

“Team Dassault Systèmes have put much effort into determining whether or not [Houdin’s] theories could work and whether his interpretation of the evidence fits into the physical and technological world of Hemienu, Khufu’s Overseer of Royal Projects.”

See the full article here.  It’s also an excellent Kheops Revealed recap.   

Stay tuned for more, and please let me know if you have any specific questions for Jean-Pierre, Mehdi or Richard regarding the project. 



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