Deep in the heart of Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design in London, PhD researcher Marin Sawa is hard at work on a project that may one day allow us to print our own superfoods at home. Sawa's creation is called the "Algaerium Bioprinter" and it's capable of printing with superfoods like Chlorella, Spirulina, and Haematococcus. Sawa is also developing a process that will allow us to grow these strains of algae at home so that we have a constant source of ink on hand.
"My project aims at adapting this industrial-scale production to a domestic technology. For this, I have been working in collaboration with Imperial College London to develop a new inkjet printing technology suitable for algae printing," Sawa wrote. "By introducing living microalgae to food printing, we have invented a new way of consuming health food supplements. At micro scale, the Bioprinter technology provides a process in which cells can be ruptured and their nutrients can be readily absorbed. At macro scale, the Bioprinter envisions an immediate future in which algae farming forms a new part of urban agriculture to reinforce food safety in our cities. We are also currently developing the technology to print algal-based energy devices as well as filtering devices."
Sawa is creating the bioprinter as part of her doctoral research and realistically, it may be years (if ever) before we see the fruits of her labor. Sawa would have to find a way to mass produce the capabilities of the Algaerium and in its current form it may well be too complex for widespread public adoption. Still, like the highly anticipated 3D printed organs that are currently in development, the future is slowly but surely being printed one day and one cell at a time.