Japanese culture has a flair for transforming the mundane, like an ordinary lunch, into something aesthetically pleasing. Yoshihiro Asano, a student at Keiko University, found an automated method for spicing up is bento box lunches, by converting his 3D printer into a meal decorator capable of decorating his rice with furikake-based drawings.
Dry furikake seasoning can give otherwise boring bento rice a bit of flavor, with such packets as salmon, sesame seed, pickled plum, or garlic allowing people like Yoshihiro to shake his meals up a bit. Previously, Yoshihiro attempted to make his meals more interesting by using a laser-cut stencil, but found it cumbersome. Inspired by a rice flour paste printing delta bot, Yoshiro designed a specialty extruder for his Solidoodle and wrote a program in Processing for applying the seasoning to his bento boxes in any shape he likes.
As you can see from the video, the software converts images into simple patterns, which are then turned into G-code, telling Lunchbot how to draw the furikake. After placing the rice box into the printer’s build area, Lunchbot executes its program and, if the design calls for it, the bot is directed to pause mid-print, allowing Yoshihiro to replace custom seasoning cartridges, to allow for a multi-flavored, multi-colored meal. … (read more)