3D food printer, circa 1956

On my previous post about space travel and 3D printers, mention was made of the Star Trek “food replicator.”

But I seemed to recall that sci-fi had imagined this device much earlier than that.

Indeed, in the 1956 classic “Forbidden Planet,” starring Walter PidgeonAnne Francis, and Leslie Nielsen, there is a robot that has a sort of miniature 3D food printer built into its torso.

I couldn’t find a clip showing that from the actual film, but I did find this promotional short in which the robot explains how it is able to replicate food of any kind, in any amount. All that is needed is a small sample of the food — which I suppose makes it more of a 3D food copier than printer.

But whatever. I thought I’d share it. Also, I refer you to a story Burl brought to our attention, about how a 3D printer saved a baby’s life.

This is just astounding technology…

Robbie the Robot, a pre-comedy Leslie Nielsen, and pre-Honey West Anne Francis (who showed her gams a LOT in this one).

Robbie the Robot, a pre-comedy Leslie Nielsen, and pre-“Honey West” Anne Francis (who showed her gams a LOT in this one).

7 thoughts on “3D food printer, circa 1956

  1. Kathryn Fenner

    I wonder if your many food allergies have led to this fascination with food facsimiles?

  2. Brad Warthen Post author

    It’s not the fact that it’s food — it’s the idea of being able to “print” a reproduction of complex matter so that it not just LOOKS like the thing being copied, it WORKS like that thing.

    That’s astounding. It’s like magic…

  3. Burl Burlingame

    The low-end 3D printers use strings of vinyl as source material and micro-laser plotters to fuse the material. Basically, I think all you’d have to do is create an edible polymer. Maybe out of Cheese Whiz.

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      i think there are edible polymers. The artificial dog chews come to mind…..not that I’d want to eat them….made out of corn starch, though, so Brad couldn’t eat it…..sorry.

      maybe gelatin?

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