Researchers are working to revolutionise mealtimes for elderly people with swallowing problems – by 3D-printing their food.
The 3D printer will be able to create easily digestible food, which not only maintains the shape and taste of the real thing, but can also be fortified with specific nutrients.
Studies suggest that more than one in five people over the age of 50 have problems swallowing their food – a condition known as dysphagia. Those with this problem have difficulties eating because the larynx fails to close properly during swallowing, so that food ends up in the lungs instead of the stomach.
…Kück expects that elderly residents will be able to choose from different menus each week and the meals will be prepared in a processing plant before delivery. It is hoped that the new technology will also mean that food can be personalised, adding specific vitamins or nutrients – for example folic acid – as required by residents.
…The 3D printer will work in the same way as a conventional inkjet device – except the cartridges are filled with liquefied food, instead of ink.
‘If you have people who don’t want vegetables, you might fortify the meat with certain vitamins – there really are no restrictions in terms of what food can be recreated.’
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!