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3D Printers Could Bring Digital Dinners To Your Home

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Could food soon be going digital?

A team of engineers at Columbia University is working with chefs to create a 3D food printing machine for your home.

As CBS2's Tracee Carrasco reported, the multi-layered cookies printed by the machine look more like sculptures than desserts.

Robotics professor Hod Lipson wants to bring cutting edge technology to the kitchen.

"If you think about it, software has entered every other field but in the kitchen we still cook like cave men," he said.

He believes a 3D home food printer will usher in a new generation of cooking at home.

"You have younger generations for which it seems very natural that you'd cook with software," he said.

He also said it could have major implications for nutrition and health care -- especially for people with food allergies.

"We might be able to connect food with personalized health, biometrics, personalized medicine, our genome, in ways that we can't today," he said.

Professor Lipson said he's been testing out recipes in his classroom since 2005.

The challenge was to find the right structures, shapes, consistency, and temperatures.

After creating a prototype designed to hold multiple cartridges of food to print, the team reached out to Manhattan chefs to test it out.

Chef Herve Malivert from the International Culinary Institute said the technology is great for home cooking, but he doesn't think it will become the norm.

"I don't think that's the angle," he said.

Professor Lipson believes the possibilities are endless and the technology will allow people to cook and print foods from across the globe.

"In that same way we might have access to new kinds of food that we can't make ourselves, we can't buy, or we can't pay somebody to make," he said.

Emailing lunch may be sooner than you think. Printers are not yet consumer ready, Lipson said they are still tweaking the technology and getting the printer to make food faster.


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