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The Future of Eating, with help of 3D printing

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The future of eating has been a topic of focus this semester in ENTR 290-02 “Intro to 3D Printing and Design.”

“Each group looked at this in very different ways — from how houses could becoming living, to roads eating pollutants, to new forms of dishes,” said Prof. Iain Kerr, who teaches the class with Prof. Jason Frasca. “The 3D printing became the tool to iterate various prototypes from molds to grow mushroom bricks to sensory devices to edible plates.”

As the students practiced their final pitches this week, there was a special judge in the classroom, Shah Dabiri, STEM education manager at Picatinny Arsenal. Dabiri offered to bring “lunch,” a food from the past that’s very much in use today, and will be in the future: MRE’s or Meal Ready to Eat. MRE’s are more likely to be found on a battlefield than a college classroom, yet the packets of calorie-laden food offer many lessons in innovation, as does the ENTR 290-02 course.

The contents of one MRE. (Yes, there are Reese’s Pieces in this one.)


Shah Dabiri made a special presentation about the MRE’s before providing feedback on the students’ 3D printed innovations.


Video snippet of Dabiri’s presentation.


A student helped Dabiri pass out the MRE’s:




The MRE packaging includes directions about how to “cook” them. Basically, you just add water and a special heating device:


Some ENTR 290-02 students cooking their MRE’s.

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MRE’s can be traded like currency (video).

The verdict? The MREs actually don’t taste bad.


After the MRE demonstration and lunch, the ENTR 290-02 student teams made presentations about their products, for Dabiri and Petia Morozov, partner at MADLAB, to judge. Here are some of the student teams, in action:

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“This semester has been a journey through a world of creativity we could not foresee in the world of food,” said Frasca, professor of the 3D Printing course. “3D Printing has taken our students down unique paths we never imagined. Yet we find ourselves solving and inventing some of the world’s biggest problems in the most unusual ways. This has been a most satisfying inaugural 3D Printing class.”

ENTR 290-02 “Intro to 3D Printing and Design” will be offered again in spring 2016 on Tuesdays, 1-3:30 p.m. You can enroll in the course in WESS. If you have questions about the course, contact