According to New Atlas,Scientists have developed a new way to provide information on 3D printed food by printing a QR code on the food itself.This does not affect the taste or appearance of the food and does not require the use of any labels.
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The technology, called “interiqr” (or “internal QR”), was developed by a team at Osaka University in Japan. As a proof-of-concept, the researchers recently 3D printed cookies that were smooth and normal looking, but had a pattern of voids on the inside.
While these patterns are invisible under normal lighting, when illuminated from behind, looking at the cookies from the front, they appear as “silhouette windows”. A normal smartphone can then read these codes, revealing the data stored in them.
Needless to say, in its current form, the technology will be limited to relatively thin, somewhat translucent 3D printed foods. Still, scientists hope it will eventually offer manufacturers, retailers and consumers an alternative to more wasteful and expensive methods such as paper labels routinely applied to fruit, or RFID applied to packaging Label.
Additionally, if information such as ingredients and nutritional content can be conveyed by the food itself, then less packaging is required to display the same data.
“Our 3D printing method is a great example of the digital transformation of food, which we hope will improve the traceability and safety of food,” said Kosuke Sato, senior author of the study. “This technology can also be used to provide novel food experiences through augmented reality, which is an exciting new area in the food industry.”
The team will present a paper on the research later this month at the 35th ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology.