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Pasta from 3D printer at Milan Expo

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Forget spaghetti, fusilli and rigatoni, Italians may soon be eating pasta in the shape of a moon, a rose or even a Christmas tree - all made by a 3D pasta printer.

It may seem like science-fiction, but it's not. The new printer - and its printed shapes - is set to go on show at Milan's EXPO 2015 this month.

Italian pasta giant Barilla Group is challenging the traditional Italian way of making and preparing food with this futuristic vision - 3D printed pasta.

In August 2014, they organised a so-called 'PrintEat' contest online, held on crowd-sourcing platform Thingarage, for 3D printing models.

Among the three 3D pasta shape designs which won the contest are "Vortipa", a vortex pattern progression that slightly resembles a Christmas Tree, and "Rosa", a bio-dynamic round bloom which turns into a rose when it comes into contact with boiling water.

The idea was born after Barilla met with Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) and decided to explore how they could make new, original pasta shapes.

"The working principle of a 3D printer is quite similar to regular printers. So a new shape is designed in 3 dimensions with the aid of computer graphics tools and translated in language machine," said Michela Petronio, Research Vice President.

But even though the pasta is made by a machine, it still contains all the regular ingredients.

Once printed, they're instantly ready to be cooked and eaten.

Cooking time is also very short. Freshly printed 3D pasta takes two minutes to cook.

Experts believe even traditional Italian pasta fans will eventually accept the new production method.

"As for pasta, I am pretty sure that in Italy it will be appreciated. It's true we are a traditionalist population on this matter, but we are also a population of innovators and curious people. So I am sure that this will be one of those things we will be

The reaction of visitors to Milan's EXPO 2015 may be the first test for these innovative pastas.


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