Food by VICE

This Japanese Company Wants to 3D-Print Custom Sushi for Each Diner

But before you eat, you’ll need to hand over some “biological samples,” including urine and saliva.

by Bettina Makalintal
Mar 11 2019, 8:29pm

Photo Courtesy Open Meals

Usually, you poop after you go to the restaurant, and you pee when you’re a few drinks in. Since time immemorial, humans—and basically every other creature—have been able to rely on the predictable trajectory that eating leads to… excrement.

Typically, however, the reverse doesn’t happen—but the Japanese company Open Meals is turning that idea on its head in the name of bringing together science and sushi. By using “biological samples” including “saliva, urine, [and] stool,” Open Meals will create a 3D-printed sushi that’s tailored to each diner, according to Austin news site KXAN.

To date, that sushi has been exhibited at trade shows and South by Southwest, but Open Meals plans to open a restaurant called Sushi Singularity in Tokyo in 2020. And if you didn’t think the process of making reservations wasn’t already a hassle, this one’s for you. A reservation will trigger the restaurant to send a “health test kit,” a representative told KXAN. After a would-be diner has sent the company, say, a vial of pee or poo, the restaurant analyzes what nutrients the person needs. When they visit the restaurant, those nutrients will be added to their 3D-printed dinner.

How that’s supposed to work out, according to a stylized promotional video, is that a man walks into a sushi restaurant. His face is mapped and identified by a computer interface, which knows his levels of nutrients, his genetic code, intestinal flora, and sleep quality. Then, a 3D printer with large robotic arms makes the sushi, pumping it full of whatever he’s lacking, and a sushi chef—who looks to otherwise be pretty hands-off in the process—adds a brush of soy sauce before passing the 3D-printed sushi cubes to the man. (RIP sushi rolls. Cause of death: technology.)

That might sound like the eerie, boundary-stepping dining dystopia of the future, but it’s not that far from our current reality, minus the pee- and poo-scanning parts. A new “tech-focused” Bay Area restaurant called Noosh, for example, will have security cameras aimed at every inch of the restaurant to make sure diners get their food on time, and has not ruled out the use of facial recognition to ease ordering “pain points.”

Sushi Singularity, Open Meals claims on its website, is “beyond the future of sushi.” Because it can print sushi and share sushi plans worldwide, the project is part of not just one but two revolutions, the website states: “Sushi will connect people around the world, and will be produced, edited, and shared online in the form of ‘new sushi.’ Sushi combined with biometrics will enable hyper-personalization based on biometric and genomic data.”

“Humans know nothing about Sushi!” it finishes. Jiro might have something to say about that one.