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Virtual Reality to connect people with new food technology

“I can see science in real action,” says a Cambridge university student. “You can do extraordinary things with already existing technology,” adds another. They are not describing the last action videogame that was released on the market, but reacting to the experience of the new Virtual Reality video series on new food technologies, live on FoodUnfolded.com

Food and Natural Resources

Brussels, 22 July 2019 - The Future Kitchen video series shows how technology is integrated into daily people’s lives and in the food industry. Technology helps to solve problems and contribute to a more sustainable shift. The first video of the series is about how some Icelandic farmers are growing tomatoes through geothermal energy. The second video is about how 3D printing technologies (Foodini) are used to reduce fish food waste. The third is about household vertical farming (Plantcube). The fourth video is about tackling the problem of food waste, Beyond Bread, and utilization of FlatEv (FlatEv). Virtual Reality does not only allow the spectator to have a 360-degree view, but it also gives the feeling of being physically part of the story, finding yourself surrounded by tomatoes or in a fish boat or fish processing plant in Iceland. To take it even further, you find yourself inside a 3D food printer in which seafood byproducts are turned into high-value fish dishes inspired by awarding chefs. It is an opportunity to learn and discover where the food we daily eat comes from and how food is intertwined with technology. This project was born from the need to (re)connect people with food by EIT Food. Consumer trust is at an all-time low in the food system. Food careers are a low priority and more bright minds are needed in the field. At the same time, the food industry has not kept up with the latest developments in dissemination. In addition, technology associated with food has sometimes a negative connotation. Creative info-taining is the future of knowledge transfer and a way to combat these challenges. It is a combination of information in the form of transferring new knowledge and entertaining the viewer through the immersion of a totally new environment and story. Virtual reality (or VR) has evolved into a powerful learning tool, giving the viewer a more immersive experience. It is crucial to bringing about a deeper connection through a blend of infotainment. “What we are trying to do is to explore the potential of virtual reality in order to connect people with food tech more effectively” Dr. Holly T. Kristinsson, Coordinator of FutureKitchen. With the support of the University of Cambridge and IMDEA Alimentación (Madrid), the project engages students in the co-creation of the videos. Providing people with relevant knowledge means giving them new tools to take meaningful decisions about food and nutrition. From a food industry perspective, this initiative could work as a pilot project to explore how new technologies can engage consumers and encourage food career interest. Forging ahead The series will expand in scope, involving significantly more technologies. Not only will we be highlighting future kitchen devices and food origins, but robotics, metabolomics, personalized nutrition, macro and microalgae processing, and novel food processing including how alternative proteins and foods are made. VR Video | ICELAND TOMATO FARM | LOOK INSIDE: https://www.foodunfolded.com/videos/iceland-tomato-farm-look-inside-360-video

Keywords

Virtual Reality, Technology, Food, Industry, Education