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Cooking your next steak with laser

The new “pot” for cooking food using laser. Image credot: Columbia University

We have already seen robots that cook, like Flippy -cooking hamburgers-. Now a team of engineers (word of cautions, in general the engineering category is not the one you would think of as expert cooks) has decided that tech can change the cooking procedures for good. Why place food in a pot, pan, and heat the pot to heat the food? Besides of the heat wast in the double passage of heat (first to the pot, then to the food) the whole food gets exposed to the same temperature, whether it is the fat part of the steak or the lean one. More than that: the part of the food closer to the bottom of the pot is exposed to a higher temperature (that is why in some preparation you are supposed to stir the mixture!).

The engineers at Columbia have decided time has come for precision cooking. They experimented with a variety of lasers (different wavelengths from blue to infrared) and found out that they are able to cook food (more specifically “chicken”) in ways that lead to different flavours and textures. They packed it all in a 3D printer, designed for assembling food et voila! They created a robo-cook that can create food to fit specific taste, on demand (watch the clip).

It starts, amazingly, from the same raw food, chicken. The raw food is reduced into a sort of ink that feeds the 3D printer. Based on what is the goal (taste, texture) the 3D printer prints the “ink” to create an object of a given shape, size and thickness and the laser cooks it in precise patterns creating the desired flavour. This cooking technology can result in flavours that are not possible with the usual cooking procedures.

Don’t expect to have this digital robo-cook in your kitchen anytime soon but the future of creative kitchen, may be proposed by some “starred” restaurant, may also include this in the menu.

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the New Initiative Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He is a member of the IEEE in 2050 Ad Hoc Committee. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.