By Leah Zinsky
Freshman student, Nathaniel Barone, is using his first year to do something unique at Sacred Heart University: 3D food printing.
Barone didn’t originally come to Sacred Heart to pursue engineering.
Barone was recruited by Sacred Heart to play on the Men’s Volleyball team. Unfortunately, he was injured and deferred for a year.
“During this time, I was able to reflect on what I wanted to do as a student,” said Barone. “When I heard about the engineering program that was being offered this year, I decided to take a leap of faith and be a part of its first graduates.”
At Barone’s high school, they did not offer many engineering classes. Their extracurricular classes were geared toward woodworking and metal shop.
“Personally, I think this is a problem. Many high schools don’t even bring up the topic of engineering, much less teach classes around it,” said Barone. “This creates a lack of students to go into the field when given the opportunity in college. This is because of the lack of awareness and education.”
Every engineering student has a different focus of specialty and interest.
As for Barone, he is in the five-year program, working towards a B.A. in Computer Engineering and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering.
Each engineering student is required to take one three-hour-long lab called “Engineering Exploration,” which teaches its students about all the different types of engineering.
Contrary to what many may believe, the research that Barone and Dr. Kaya do is based around sending smells and tastes through the internet. 3D-printed food is already a reality. There have been many uses of 3D printing, such as the printing of pancakes, waffles, and hamburgers.
“We are trying to figure out if it is possible to send smells and tastes through the internet. We are interested in this research because we imagine a world in which our research becomes a possibility,” said Barone. “You could buy perfume, candles, or anything scented, through the internet. Or, you could taste a famous dish just by opening ‘Google.’ The possibilities are endless.”
However, the concept may take years to complete.
“The reason behind us stating that it would be taste over food, is because the avenue of scent is much different,” said Barone. “If we could figure but how to send real food over the internet, it could be a way to solve world hunger. Then again, all of these things are very far fetched, not researched, and would take a long time to solve.”
Barone is applying the information he is learning in class to the current research he is doing.
“Its main concept would be a patch of sensors. On one side of the sensors, we will call the ‘sending side,’ for ease of understanding. This would read what the smell or taste is,” said Barone. “For example, in sending the taste of vanilla ice cream, we would have the sensors on the ‘sending side’ recognize this entity (the vanilla ice cream).”
Then it would send all the pre-set data into the computer, which then sends it all to the ‘recieving side.’ The sensors on the ‘recieving side,’ would then just recreate what data was sent.”
By the time Barone completes his college career at Sacred Heart, he hopes to complete this ‘patch of sensors’ task.
“In the end, the hope is that this development would create the same taste of vanilla ice cream. If we are able to develop this even further into sending nutrients, or ‘real food,’ it would also be just as edible as ‘normal food,’” said Barone.