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3D打印食品是否会像微波炉一样普及?

发布时间: 2015-03-12 07:02 来源: 财富中文网 作者: 网络 点击: 我要评论 条评论)

自然机器公司的3D食品打机印Foodini制作出的红辣椒饼干。

利奈特•库斯玛想要卖“21世纪版的微波炉”。作为他的自然机器公司推出的第一款产品,Foodini自动化食品加工机,能够更快、更高效地制作家常美食。

自然机器公司将Foodini称为一台3D食品打印机。这种颇具未来主义色彩的品牌定位或许会吓跑一批消费者,不过库斯玛并不担心。

“当人们第一次听说微波炉时,他们也不理解微波炉的技术原理,但现在90%的家庭都有微波炉,”她说。“我们认为3D食品打印也会经历这样的发展历程,但人们接受3D食品打印的速度要快得多,因为现在我们采用科技的速度,以及科技进步的速度,都比以往更快了。”

实际上,Foodini并不是一台严格意义上的3D打印机。3D打印机基本上是按照同一个速度运行的,处理的原材料也只有一种——塑料。Foodini的运行程序和3D打印机类似,但它提供了几种不同的运转速度,并且可以同时处理几种原材料。它的箱型机身大约有17英寸宽,18英寸高,重约33磅。

作为自然机器公司的第一代Foodini,它最擅长的就是做那些比较耗时的菜,比如意大利面和需要造型的面包及饼干等。用户首先要从触摸屏上选择一份菜谱,或者也可以把自己喜欢的菜谱发送到这台联网的机器上。用户只需要备好原料,并且将原料放进Foodini的不锈钢原料容器就行了,Foodini会完成制作过程。

打个比方,如果用户做的是意大利饺子,Foodini会相继“打印”出下层饺子皮、馅料和上层饺子皮。漫长的包饺子过程会缩短至2分钟,用户也不必在事后收拾粘乎乎的面粉案板了。

Foodini的1.0版目前还不能烹饪或加热食物,但库斯玛打算在以后的机型上添加这些功能。库斯玛还预计,食品公司以后或将推出各种“打印耗材”,这样一来用户就可以完全跳过准备食材的环节。

Foodini将于2015年年中正式上市。库斯玛表示:“市场需求非常高,我们打算首轮推出1000台机器。”每台Foodini的售价为1300美元,消费者可以从网上订购。库斯玛最初瞄准的目标客户是厨师,但她也表示,她目前也在与企业零售商和食品制造商进行接洽(由于保密协议的缘故,她无法提供合作企业的名称和细节)。库斯玛表示,食品行业非常欢迎这项新技术。“他们问我们,这项技术将对市场产生什么样的影响,而且他们都在积极参与这项技术,以便搞清楚能够如何利用它。”

她补充道,很多专业厨师都把它当作一种释放创意的工具,而并不认为它会抢走自己的饭碗。纽约宴会美食家彼得•卡拉汉曾经为奥巴马以及拉夫•劳伦、托里•伯奇和凯特•斯派德等企业客户提供过宴席。他说:“我们正在致力于彻底改造食物的体验,所以库斯玛利用科技改造食物的做法,和我们的方向是一样的。”卡拉汉自己也打算购买一台Foodini,他认为这台设备的吸引力并不局限在餐厅的厨房里。“它的定价是普通家庭也能承担得起的,所以我认为它会进入很多普通家庭。”

自然机器公司的顾问,发明家艾利克斯•莱特曼认为,Foodini在一些烹饪空间狭小的场合下拥有广阔的应用前景——比如在飞机上。“人们可能会想要乘坐第一家使用Foodini的航空公司的航班,因为这样他们就不必吃飞机上的食物了。10年后,如果你再说飞机上的食物难吃,人们可能会用奇怪的眼神看着你,对你说飞机上的食物其实很好吃啊。”

莱特曼还表示,其他大型场所和机构也可以用它制作美食,来取代以往味同嚼蜡的产品,比如体育场馆、交通枢纽和学校食堂等等。“比如有人上了哈佛大学,既然你已经交了那么多学费,你肯定不想吃难吃的饭。”(这一点莱特曼一定深有体会,因为他上过哈佛。)

有意思的是,自然机器公司实际上是一家西班牙公司。库斯玛在创办该公司之前,曾经在好几家创业公司工作过,并曾担任过微软公司欧洲、非洲及中东地区公共关系经理。2009年,由于她的丈夫在巴赛罗那找到了新工作,她便随丈夫一同搬到巴赛罗那,随后创立了自然机器公司——目前该公司在全球各地已经拥有了20名员工。

有些员工领的薪水很低,有些甚至是免费工作。库斯玛表示:“到目前为止,我们的发展完全是自力更生。”该公司80万美元启动资金主要来自创始人的投资(库斯玛与CEO埃米利奥•赛普尔韦达和企业家艾利克斯•墨利欧、罗萨•阿韦亚内达等人共同创办了这家公司)和贷款。现在,自然机器公司已经获得了100万美元投资,并且正在试图从投资者手中再拉来500万美元。今年晚些时候,库斯玛打算在洛杉矶开设一间5人的美国总部,同时继续在巴塞罗那和中国设置办事处。

在库斯玛的设想中,总有一天,当我们临近下班时,只要在智能手机上轻轻一点,就可以让Foodini替你在厨房里忙活。等到用户回到家里,Foodini已经为你做好了热腾腾的饺子——或是任何能够挑逗用户味蕾的美食。库斯玛说:“我们是一家食品制造商,只不过是专门针对每个人的独特口味。”(财富中文网)

译者:朴成奎

审校:任文科

Lynette Kucsma wants to sell the 21st century’s version of the microwave.The “Foodini”—an automated meal-assembly machine that creates homemade meals faster and more efficiently than human hands—is the first product by Natural Machines, Kucsma’s company.

Natural Machines is marketing the Foodini as a 3D food printer. That sort of futuristic branding may scare consumers from the supremely out-there concept. Kucsma’s not worried, though.

“When people first heard about microwaves they didn’t understand the technology, but now 90% of households have microwaves,” she says. “We see the same thing happening with 3D food printing, but on a much faster scale because we adopt technology faster and the technology advances faster.”

In reality, the Foodini isn’t a 3D printer, per se. 3D printers generally run at one speed and handle a single ingredient: plastic. The Foodini is programmed similarly, but offers multiple speeds and works with numerous ingredients at the same time. The box-shaped contraption is approximately 17 inches wide, 18 inches high and clocks in at 33 pounds.

Natural Machines’s first iteration of the Foodini works best for time-consuming projects like pasta, elaborately shaped breads and cookies. Users first select a recipe from the touch screen or send their own to the Internet-connected machine. They then make the individual components of the dish from scratch and put the components into Foodini’s stainless steel ingredient capsules. From there, Foodini whips up dinner.

If the user is making a recipe for ravioli, for instance, the Foodini prints the bottom layer of dough, the filling and the top dough layer in subsequent steps. It reduces a lengthy recipe to two minutes construction time and ensures that no one has to clean a countertop caked with leftover dough and flour.

Version 1.0 can’t cook or heat food, but Kucsma expects to add those features in future Foodini models. She also anticipates food companies making ready-to-print items, so users can skip the ingredient prep stage entirely.

Foodini will go on sale in the mid-2015. “The demand is so high that we’re thinking about rolling out 1,000 machines for our first run,” says Kucsma. The device costs $1,300 and will be available online. Kucsma is initially targeting chefs, but says she’s also been in talks with both corporate retailers and food manufacturers (non-disclosure agreements prevent her from providing company names and details). Kucsma says the food industry is embracing the technology. “They are asking us how this will impact their market and are getting involved quite early to figure out how to get engaged with it.”

She adds that culinary professionals see it as a tool to unlock creativity, not as their replacement. “We’re trying to reinvent food experiences, so what [Kucsma] is doing with using technology to change foods fits right into our wheelhouse,” says New York City caterer Peter Callahan, who has thrown events for President Obama and corporate clients Ralph Lauren, Tory Burch and Kate Spade. Callahan plans to purchase a Foodini—and he feels the device’s appeal extends beyond the restaurant kitchen. “[Kucsma] is pricing her machine so it can be purchased by a home cook,” he says. “I could see it being in a lot of houses.”

Inventor Alex Lightman has been advising Natural Machines and sees tremendous potential for the hardware to be in any space-crunched cooking space—including airplanes. “People would want to fly on the first airline that uses it because they won’t have to have airline food,” says Lightman. “And ten years from now, if you talk about airline food as a bad thing, people will look at you strange and say that airline food is fabulous.”

Other large-scale institutions like sports stadiums, transportation hubs and school cafeterias could use it to turn their plastic-tasting offerings into something more gourmet, says Lightman. “Think about someone going to Harvard. If you’re paying that much for tuition, you don’t want to eat crap food.” (Lightman would know; he attended Harvard.

Interestingly, Natural Machines is based in Spain. After a career working at several startups and as Microsoft’s public relations manager for Europe, Africa and the Middle East, Kucsma followed her husband to Barcelona when he took a new job in 2009. She formed Natural Machines—and the company now has 20 employees scattered across the globe.

Some are working for little or no pay. “To date, we’ve been bootstrapping the company,” says Kucsma. The initial $800,000 in capital has come from the founders (Kucsma started the company with its CEO Emilio Sepulveda and entrepreneurs Alex Moreu and Rosa Avellaneda) and from loans. Natural Machines has secured another $1 million in financing and is looking for an additional $5 million from investors. Later this year, Kucsma plans to relocate to Los Angeles to establish a five-person U.S. base for the operation while keeping company offices in Barcelona and China.

As Kucsma envisions it, one day everyone will be able to tap a button on their smartphones when they head home to tell their Foodini to get to work. By the time the user arrives home, there will be hot, fresh ravioli—or whatever else strikes a user’s fancy—waiting. “We are a food manufacturer, shrunk down for everyone’s personal taste,” she says.

(责任编辑:单刀)
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