Innovation That Matters

MIT develops pasta that morphs


A team of researchers has made a new type of pasta from starch and gelatin that changes shape when added to water.

Sign in or buy a plan to view this innovation

In what’s being called the origami of food, a team from MIT’s Tangible Media Group have formulated a new kind of pasta that could make huge savings on transport costs. Made from a combination of gelatin and starch, the flat 2D shapes instantly transform into 3D objects when put into water. This could save a fortune on both shipping and packaging costs. The concept called Transformative Appetite has been developed within a research project funded by MIT Media Lab and startup accelerator Food + Future.

The team revealed their invention in a report at the (hold your breath) Association for Computing Machinery’s 2017 Computer-Human Interaction Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. And breathe.

Wen Wing, co-author of the paper and scientist at MIT explained: “We did some simple calculations, such as for macaroni pasta, and even if you pack it perfectly, you still will end up with 67 percent of the volume as air. We thought maybe in the future our shape-changing food could be packed flat and save space.”

The possibilities for this initiative are enormous – not only could it vastly reduce shipping and packaging (saving both money and helping the environment) it could make getting food to people in troubled areas easier. Another initiative a few years ago was 3D printed food, and more recently a Danish brewery decided that instead of wasting 50,000 litres of human urine it would use them to brew this Pisner lager. What other applications other than food could benefit by adopting this technology?

Image credit: MIT



Download PDF

Springwise Services:
Our expertise in spotting the latest innovations is the best resource to empower your team’s future planning.

Find out More