Foodies worldwide, starting in China, may be able in the not so distant future to own a personal Food Printer which will be portable and considered to be the second best thing after sitting at a table enjoying a meal in good company.
Industrial design student Zhu Jingxuan from the Fashion & Art Design Institute of Donghua University came up with the idea of creating a carry-on olfactive printer to take pictures of noteworthy dishes while recording their aromas at the same time...
The Food Printer, which looks like a contemporary pepper mill on the surface of it, is then able to analyze aromas emitted by a dish and reconstitute them with scented inks which are mixed to obtain the desired effect.
The device also takes a picture of the local specialty, the end result being that the Food Printer prints out a perfumed postcard ready to be sent via snail mail to share the experience visually, olfactorily and nearly quite literarily. You can parse the merits of the dish in condensed prose at the back of the card. Food critics will be able to document their coups de coeur on the spot while emotions are still vivid.
"I spent several months designing it," said the 20-year-old student majoring in industry design. "What I completed was just an idea and draft sketch. Without the help of Sony's designers, I could not have made the model."
The invention received the "most-fun" award at the sixth Sony Student Design Workshop.
We can already envision restaurants adding this new service for their patrons to spread word (and flavor) of mouth.
The device hints at the notion that there exists a typical palette of flavors within given foodways, a palette which might need to be adapted to different culinary traditions. It is no surprise that this invention's place of birth is China since the practice of taking photographs of one's food is particularly developed in the culture. In a way, it replaces the more ancient activity of the collector of menus.