Science Fiction Becomes Reality 05: Replicator

One of the most awesome pieces of technology imagined in science fiction is the replicator. You want an ice cream sundae? Just punch it in and it appears. How cool is that?

Replicator: The Sci-Fi Version

When Star Trek: The Next Generation was on TV in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Captain Picard would ask a device for a cup of hot, earl-grey tea, stirred to perfection. And it would appear. The 24th century ‘replicator’ was capable of materializing any non-living object, as long as the molecular code for that object was on file.  The mechanics of these devices were never clearly explained, but the idea is fantastically awesome.

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How It’s Becoming Reality

In 2014, Nestlé, the company best know for chocolate bars, announced that it will develop a new food making system that could change the way we eat. Codenamed ‘Iron Man‘, the project will eventually lead to a kitchen machine that can create tailored supplements, or even food.

The machine would test a person for a variety of nutrients and other health factors such as diabetes or obesity. This would result in a ‘nutrient profile’ for the person, showing exactly what their diet is lacking.

Nutrients would be supplied in a powder form, possibly in capsule like the Nespresso system. A ‘replicator’ machine could then create food infused with the nutrients, or even a shake or vitamin tablet.nestle-researchers-3D-food-printing

Nestlé’s Institute of Health Sciences (NIHS) Ed Baetge said the products created through “Iron Man” would be more effective at treating vitamin and nutrient deficiency than the supplements found in drugstores today. Those benefits, which could potentially help treat illnesses like Alzheimer’s, would extend to the presently hypothetical device that the company hopes to build, making it easy for owners to make healthy food without going to the grocery story. “Out comes your food at the press of a button,” Baetge said. “If we do this right, it can be the next microwave in your kitchen.”

Now, I’d love to hear from you. What science-fiction ideas have you recently read about or have you seen in movies that you predict we’ll be using very soon? Let me know in the comments!

 

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Dana Leipold

Continuity Director
Dana is a freelance writer, author, and member of the Association of Independent Authors. She has self-published three books practices yoga, loves funny cat videos, and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and two children.

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