What’s better than delicious sushi? How about 3D-printed sushi that looks like it belongs in an 8-bit video game?
The guys at Open Meals want to do for food what Apple did for digital music: make it easy to download — or in this case “teleport” — food from anywhere in the world.
To achieve this, they’ve created two key components. The first is a patent-pending “Food Base” digital food platform that stores precise measurements (flavor, shape, color, nutrients, and texture) of different kinds of foods.
Company reps told me this database is the “foundation for making authentic food reproduction” possible. Like iTunes, they want Food Base to be a place for people to search, download, and upload food data.
The second component to “teleporting” food is the Pixel Food Printer, a custom-built robotic arm that prints out tiny little pixel cubes made from a type of edible gel. Each pixel is injected with different flavors, color, nutrients, etc. and combined together into the finished pixelated-looking food.
Ultimately, Open Meals wants to shrink the pixel blocks so that food looks more realistic when pieced together. But there’s no timeline for when they’ll be able to make that happen.
As for how it tastes… I’m told it’s not good. Coding the gel cubes with the right flavors is challenging and there’s still a lot of work to be done before it tastes like anything close to real food.
But who cares? They LOOK awesome. Besides, if Instagram has taught me anything, it’s that nobody cares how food tastes as long as it photographs well 😂. And these pixel sushi will get you all the likes.
Open Meals outlined several ways its Pixel Food Printer could be really useful. For example, we could teleport different dishes from Earth to astronauts living in space, or a cooking show chef could send meals to viewers’ homes.
Like most tech at SXSW, the Pixel Food Printer is still a prototype concept so you won’t be able to get one just yet (it’d probably cost a small fortune, too). But if this ever makes it into production, you can be sure food photographers will be all over it.