Growing old comes with a host of medical problems. One of those is dysphagia, a discomfort in swallowing, which can cause food to end up in the lungs and create more serious conditions like pneumonia. Most of those suffering from dysphagia are only capable of eating pureed foods, with little flavor and no texture, making mealtime considerably less enjoyable. A German company, Biozoon Food Innovations, is changing that, by introducing an extruder, the seneoPro, that works with any 3D printer and prints food specifically for those who suffer from dysphagia.
The seneoPro extruder attaches to a 3D printer and works just like a standard inkjet printer. However, instead of printing ink, it prints liquified food. The food begins in powdered form, but is mixed with a gelatin as it prints, making it solid. When eaten, though, it dissolves in the mouth.
Users can add colorants, flavors, texturizers and vitamins to the food and choose a mold to shape the final print-out. This makes the printed food appealing, both in taste and appearance. Because the food becomes liquid again once eaten, there is far less chance of food crumbs entering the lungs.
SeneoPro is easy enough to use for caregivers, nurses (human or robot) and nursing home cooks. Thanks to better medical care and new drugs and technology that increase lifespan, there is a growing elderly population. Devices like the seneoPro are important for improving the quality of life for those people, along with the rest of us as we age.