Friday, August 28, 2015

The Future Of Edible Electronics: 3D Printed Vegemite to Power LEDs


The list of 3D printable materials has gotten very long and diverse over recent years, and only seems to be increasing in length at a very steady rate. But among it are some very surprising (and sometimes even edible) materials, and one Dutch professor at the University of Wollongong in Australia has just added perhaps the strangest: Vegemite. Not only has Marc in het Panhuis successfully 3D printed this material, he has proved that the material is an ideal conductor of electricity. Could this be the future of edible electronics? 
Now for those of you who’ve never ventured down under, Vegemite is not only a more versatile ingredient than expected, it is also something of a cult product. It has shaped the breakfasts and lives of millions of Australians for decades, and is actually quite healthy. Full of B vitamins, it is made from left-over yeast extracts from the brewing industry, as well as a couple of other spices. It is also a rather well-known product with umami flavor and is eaten on everything in Australia, including just on toast with a bit of butter. 
Despite all the inventive Vegemite recipes out there, no one has ever tried to 3D print it, which is exactly what professor Marc in het Panhuis has now achieved. You might know this engineering expert for a number of other 3D printing innovations. Just recently, we reported on his involvement in a 4D printed valve. 
Evidently, one morning over breakfast, he guessed that Vegemite is a more versatile product than many believe. Designing a breadboard (for electronic circuit prototypes, not for bread), he 3D printed Vegemite on top of a slice of white bread with a custom 3D printer in the logo of his university. In his experience, Vegemite was actually a fantastic 3D printable material. 
As its qualities also suggest that Vegemite is capable of conducting electricity – containing water so and being very salty – that is something that also had to be tested. LED lights were therefore plugged into the UWO logo and powered up. And as you can see for yourself, it worked! ‘Even on bread we can put electricity through our Vegemite’, the professor declares. ‘This shows that we can 3-D print vegemite electronics and use it to power LEDs.’ And as he goes on to prove, it is still edible – just make sure to unhook all electronics....MORE
For more Anglospheric concentrated yeast extract news see 2013's Fracking In England: You Either Love It or Hate It:
WARNING: The 'reveal' at the end of the post is disgusting. 
Let's just say "Microbial injectate".