3D Printers: The Star Trek Replicators We’ve Been Waiting For

A Star Trek replicator must be at the top of everyone’s wish list when it comes to preparing food. The idea that you can instruct a machine via voice command to produce a meal and then it magically appears a few seconds later sounds like magic. Yes, there will be the foodies out there who insist on using ingredients and cooking the food, but for anyone whose time is tight, a food replicator may be just what the doctor ordered. The question is, have you ever noticed the similarities between replicators and 3D printers?

When Star Trek: The Next Generation was on the air in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the food replicator was more than likely considered a far-flung science fiction idea that we would never see; but thanks to advances in 3D printing, we may be closer to that future than many people may realize. However, we still have a long way to go before 3D printers will be able to recreate a cup of hot, earl-grey tea, stirred to perfection Captain Picard style!

In case you weren’t aware, 3D printers can be programmed to create a three-dimensional object. At the moment, 3D printers can create solid objects like mobile phone covers and plane engine screws, but with more engineering and design, the possibilities for what 3D printers can create are endless. Think about it for a minute; 3D printers could print a fresh meal from scratch, and in the process, would dispense with the need for expensive and environmentally unfriendly food packaging. It kills two birds with one stone. Throw in a Siri-like voice command interface, and you’re good to go!

Maybe we’ll need to wait until we’re traveling through space in Galaxy-class starships at warp speed before the replicators seen in Star Trek become a reality. Until then, 3D printers are the next best thing and may be a solution to potential food shortages the world may face in the near future. While we wait for the technology to advance a bit more, we’ll have to make a cup of earl-grey tea the old fashioned way.

Will 3D Printers Be Like Star Trek Replicators?

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Image Credits: [Tokyo Tech] [3D Printers Australia]