Billionaire Peter Thiel, who along with Elon Musk and others founded PayPal, also founded the Thiel Foundation, which supports "innovative scientific research and new technologies that empower people to improve their lives." 3D-printed meat may not sound like it falls inside the scope of that mission, but, as you'll see, it does.
CNET's Declan McCullagh reports:
The recipient of the Thiel Foundation's [Breakout Labs] grant, a Columbia, Mo.-based startup named Modern Meadow, is pitching bioprinted meat as a more environmentally-friendly way to satisfy a natural human craving for animal protein. Co-founder Andras Forgacs has sharply criticized the overall cost of traditional livestock practices, saying "if you look at the resource intensity of everything that goes into a hamburger, it is an environmental train wreck."
We're already working on 3D-print meat — sort of. Medical companies use industrial 3D printers to crank out tissue. Some of that tech is actually going into Modern Meadow, which is being supported by medical startups that are also getting money from the Thiel Foundation's tech-focused arm, Breakout Labs.
Forgacs's remark above shows the vision — to use 3D printing technology to disrupt complex supply chains that have a big impact on the environment — but right now he and Modern Meadow are tasked with creating an edible (and hopefully tasty) one-inch-long strip of synthetic meat. You can read a summary of the company's goals here.
So, let us know in the comments below: would you eat 3D printed meat?