”Smart food” is here. What we will eat in the future – VIDEO
Technology is entering all aspects of our lives, and food is no exception. Start ups have been developing “smart food”, varying from Star Trek replicators to using nanites or creating “digital beverages”.
Star Trek ”replicator”
The popular SF TV series included replicators that could produce any type of food or beverage ordered by someone. The same principle is now used in a different context. Israeli entrepreneurs Ayelet Carasso and Doron Marco have already invented such a device at their company, called White Innovation.
The ”replicator” is called Genie, looks like a regular coffee machine and can produce all kinds of foods, from chicken with rice, vegetable couscous, ramen or chocolate souffle. The machine uses dehydrated ingredients in order to produce portions of 140 grams each. The ”genie” can be ordered through an app.
Other similar companies that use 3D printing in order to make all kinds of foods are Print2Taste from Germany, nufood in Great Britain and Natural Machines from Spain, that invented a machine called Foudini, a reference to the famous magician Houdini.
It looks like lemonade, tastes like one, but it is only water. Scientists in Singapore invented ”virtual lemonade”, using electrodes in order to mimic the flavour and small LEDs that mimic the colour.
A sensor introduced in an authentic lemonade will collect data on acidity and colour. These will then be transmitted to a series of electrodes on the edge of the glass.
When the drinker will sip the ”lemonade”, his tongue will go over the electrode edge, and these simulate the taste, while the LEDs simulate the colour.
Another category is represented by the ”smart packages”, that comes with all kinds of sensors determining the temperature, position, movement, pressure or touch. These detect if the food is expired and, with the help of certain devices, can determine the exact batch, where it was produced and the logistical course it followed. The total market for such sensors is estimated to reach $60bn until 2022, according to Package Digest.
Besides sensors on packaging, there is something much more active: nanites that can kill bacteria in the food. These get attached to bacteria in order to inject their own genetic material. The bacteria is later used to replicate to bacteriophage. These are organisms, as well as robotic nanites and are seen by scientists as a solution for avoiding an ”antibiotics crisis”, since viruses are becoming increasingly resistant to current medication.
Artificial intelligence and vegetarian food
Another application of science is using artificial intelligence and ”big data” in order to make tasty vegetarian dishes. A team of Chillian scientists started a company called The Not Company, that used algorithms to create foods based entirely on plants.
Their virtual assistant, called Giuseppe, ”learns” about the molecular composition of various kinds of food, including the taste and texture, and then uses the data in order to recommend plant-based recipes that taste similar to those that come from animals.
Another company making such products is Impossible Good, which produces ”meat” and ”cheese” without using any animal products. The company has its headquarters in Redwood City, Silicon Valley. According to the United Nations, animal farms are responsible for 14,5% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide and require huge quantities of water and food, according to The Economist.
For example, producing 1 kilogram of beef requires 10 kilograms of fodder, while the same quantity of pork needs 5 kilograms of fodder. One kilogram of poulet requires 2,5 kilograms of fodder.