As the average lifespan continues to increase, the elderly population has been growing around the globe and is expected to steadily increase for the next decade. One-fifth of people over the age of 50 suffer from a condition called Dysphagia, which makes it difficult to swallow food. Because their larynx does not close properly, food can end up in their lungs and cause renal failure, pneumonia or death.
At nursing homes, mealtimes are an important time for residents, where they get to socialize, enjoy a nice plate of food and forget about some of their other ailments.
To help continue making these mealtimes a positive experience, Germany-based Biozoon Food Innovations wants to make 3D printed foods for those who struggle to swallow regular meals. Called Smoothfood, the project will have a 3D printer create dozens of gelatin-based meals that will melt in your mouth.
The printer will use a jetting system, similar to that of a 2D printer. Instead of ink, though, it will shoot out liquified foods that are mixed with a gelatin agent. It will also have the ability to customize meals based on nutritional needs of individual nursing home residents.
Currently, Smoothfood can create meals using cauliflower, peas, chicken, pork, potatoes and pasta.