The population of elderly individuals around the globe has been increasing at a steady rate, and will continue to increase for the next decade. Nursing homes are filling up, and more people are in need of special assistance, as well as attention.
Did you know that one out of every five people over the age of 50 has a condition known as dysphagia? Dysphagia makes it difficult for a person to swallow their food. Instead of the way you and I may swallow without even thinking about it, their larynx does not close properly. This can be very dangerous, as food can end up in their lungs, instead of their stomachs, causing renal failure, pneumonia, or even death.
The problem is even worse in nursing home aged individuals. It is estimated that 60% of all nursing home residents suffer from dysphagia. This becomes a major problem as they can not eat normal food, but instead are limited to softer, more liquid food. Meal time is one of the most anticipated events within a nursing home. Residents get to socialize, enjoy a meal, and take their minds off of the fact that they are confined to a home. When you have one person sitting down eating a hamburger, or chicken breast, and another basically drinking their food, frustration can run rampant.
Because of this, researchers at Biozoon Food Innovations in Germany, are seeking to produce a 3D printer capable of printing out dozens of different meals, all made of a gelatin base. This food will literally melt in a person’s mouth. Biozoon hopes to have a 3D printer capable of making customized, safe, and tasty meals by next year.
The machine will use a jetting system, similar to the 2D printers everyone has in their office, but instead of ink, shoot out a variety of different liquified foods, mixed with a gelatin agent. The machine will have 48 nozzles within its printing head, and would be used in a manufacturing facility rather than in the kitchens of nursing homes. In addition to printing out foods that people want to actually bite into, the machine can also customize each meal by adding specific vitamins based on the resident’s needs. Discuss Biozoon’s plan to create 3D food printers at our forum thread.
(Source: ScienceWorldReport.com – Photo : De Grood Innovations BV)