Okay, they are two passions that likely worlds apart. But if you happen to love food and are an enthusiast for 3-D technology, there’s a project underway at MIT Media Lab’s Fluid Interfaces Group that you should make note of. The group, whose charter is to “radically rethink the human-machine interactive experience,” has just kicked off a project called Cornucopia, which lab researchers Marcelo Coelho and Amit Zoran bill as digital gastronomy.
Cornucopia is a concept design for a personal digital food factory. Essentially a 3-D printer for food, the idea is to store, precisely mix, deposit and cook layers of ingredients. The design for Cornucopia’s cooking process starts with an array of food canisters, which refrigerate and store your favorite ingredients. These ingredients are then piped into the printer’s mixer and extruder head with the precise combinations deposited based on the individual recipe. Cornucopia heats and cools the food via a chamber module or via print heads, which designers say will let users have ultimate control over the origin and quality of every meal, not to mention the taste and nutritional value.
There’s even more technology at work. When ingredients run out in Cornucopia’s canisters, the printer will automatically order a new one or suggest an equivalent ingredient. User controls are also high-tech. The design calls for a multitouch translucent screen, which will display the meal being assembled while allowing the user to adjust in real-time things like calories or carb content. Right now Cornucopia is just a project, but in time, it may just get cooking.
Science fiction author Isaac Asimov may have the best rules for effective brainstorming and creativity. His never-before-published essay, "On Creativity," recently made it to the Web pages of MIT Technology Review.
Much has been made over the potentially dangerous flammability of lithium-ion batteries after major companies like Boeing, Sony, and Tesla have grappled with well-publicized battery fires. Researchers at Stanford University may have come up with a solution to this problem with a smart sensor for lithium-ion batteries that provides a warning if the battery is about to overheat or catch fire.
In this new Design News feature, "How it Works," we’re starting off by examining the inner workings of the electronic cigarette. While e-cigarettes seemed like a gimmick just two or three years ago, they’re catching fire -- so to speak. Sales topped $1 billion last year and are set to hit $10 billion by 2017. Cigarette companies are fighting back by buying up e-cigarette manufacturers.
Advertised as the "Most Powerful Tablet Under $100," the Kindle Fire HD 6 was too tempting for the team at iFixit to pass up. Join us to find out if inexpensive means cheap, irreparable, or just down right economical. It's teardown time!
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