Star Trek replicator? No, a 3D printer that can laser-cook desserts! | USA TODAY

Researchers at Columbia University have created a 3D printer that can make food, including complicated multilayered desserts.

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Mechanical engineers in the university's Creative Machines Lab have been experimenting with 3D-printed food ("food printers") and laser cooking of food since 2005.

The Department of Defense has been working to develop 3D-printed MREs (Meals Ready-to Eat) that in the future could be paired with wearable sensors to meet soldiers' nutritional needs that day. NASA has also been experimenting with 3D-printed food for astronauts on long missions.

Until now, most 3D-printed foods have been made with uncooked ingredients, the researchers say. But the engineers describe their 3D printer made a cheesecake from seven ingredients: graham cracker, peanut butter, Nutella, banana puree, strawberry jam, cherry drizzle, and frosting.

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