NEWS FROM THE FUTURE: Printing a Michelin Star

Futureworld brings you Mindbullets: News from the Future, to spark thinking about leadership, innovation and digital disruption. These fictional scenarios are intended to challenge traditional attitudes and encourage understanding of the business context. 

Dateline: November 11, 2024

Felix Beaux, an up-and-coming international chef has opened a pop-up restaurant in Tribeca, New York City. It features 3D-printed food. Heston Blumenthal and Yoshihiro Murata are among the rising stars of the food industry. Beaux opened the aptly-named Beaux at Roxy in the Roxy Hotel New York this Week. Here diners can choose from a specially curated menu and have meals printed right at their table.

Since its inception in 1980s, 3D printing has advanced a lot. From décor items and jet engines, to organs and neurons, the list of 3D printed items has grown almost daily.

When 3D printed food first became popular, the technology was limited to one type of material. Columbia University researchers used food ingredients to determine if a printer could print parts such as batteries. They were easier to work with than the material required for printing machine components and shared many of their properties.

It has evolved from an almost accidental start-up to a global industry. Israeli start-ups pioneered edible 3D printers. Their goal was to provide food security in a climate that is changing rapidly and is causing crop failures. The impact of climate change remains a driving force behind 3D-printed food at industrial scale, but the technology can also serve fine dining.

Beaux, 29, earned his first Michelin Star three years ago, as head chef at Mélisse in Los Angeles. He has since earned two additional stars and looks poised to continue his success in the culinary field. Though it’s unlikely you’ll find a 3D printer at your local Burger King, for the more discerning restaurant-goer 3D printed cuisine seems to be earning its stars.

  • Published on Mindbullets, 10 November 2022

Digital solutions to physical problems

Food, shelter and clothing — they’re all IT

Dateline: November 3, 2022

We’re all familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which states that basic needs such as food, shelter and personal comfort always come first. But information technology, that enabling force for modern civilisation, is focused pretty far up the scale  — think education, entertainment, and research and, of course, finance.

Smart robotics and nanotech manufacturing have transformed basic businesses into digital technology. The internet makes energy, including solid-state solar and battery, available for trading like information. Clothing can be 3D-printed on request; buildings can also be digitally designed by end users and constructed by robots.

Nothing is more than IT being transformed into cuisine by autochefs and bioprinters. You can subscribe to CloudEats for access to an almost infinite number of “recipes” — digital programs for the automated kitchen. MyChef is even easier — it’s an app that will scan what’s available in your home and offer a choice of menus for the week, filtered by nutrition, taste, calories or whatever.

UberEats was the first company to make food IT. Simply tap on your smartphone screen to order any of a multitude of meals delivered right at your doorstep.

Adidas pioneered the trend of personalised footwear in five years ago when it launched a range of 3D-printed, custom-made sports shoes in select markets. You can now have clothing that is designed with augmented reality and printed on-demand. What is digital fashion? For sure!

For buildings, it was a straightforward journey from computer-aided designing to drone scans and RoboBuilder that provides real-time site progress on mobile devices.

The breakthrough for the energy internet wasn’t solar, though that was a catalyst. The Ether blockchain made net debits or credits between neighbours and power producers and consumers affordable, without the need for expensive bank intermediaries or human accountants.

With food, clothes, buildings and electricity are all digitalised, what’s next for IT? Perhaps life itself?

  • Mindbullets 2 Nov 2017: First publication

• Despite appearances to the contrary, Futureworld cannot and does not predict the future. Mindbullets scenarios can only be imagined and are intended to challenge and encourage strategic thinking.

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