Interview with Kyle Von Hasseln: 3D Printing Food

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Kyle von Hasseln is an American inventor, entrepreneur and adventurer. He graduated Middlebury College with a focus in molecular ecology. He was awarded the Frank Gehry Prize for Best Thesis at the Southern California Institute of Architecture, where he invented and patented the first dehydrated food 3D printer. His startup, Sugar Lab, was acquired by 3D Systems where he led the development of the first NSF certified commercial food 3D printer. In 2020 he founded Culinary Printworks, the first on-demand culinary 3D printing firm, and brought back the retail Sugar Lab brand. Kyle is an avid backcountry skier, surfer, and alpine rock climber. Kyle will be speaking at our upcoming event focusing on food for 3D printing.

Jenny: When was the first encounter you had with 3D printing?

Kyle: As an Architecture Graduate Student in 2010, it was common to use 3D printers and other rapid prototyping machines. I remember thinking ‘how the hell have I never heard of this technology’?

Jenny: What inspired you to start your journey/company/career/research in 3D printing?

Kyle: Scott Summit, of Bespoke Innovations, who designed custom fairings for prosthetics was an inspiration early in my career.

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Photo credit: Sugar Lab

Jenny: Who inspired you the most along this journey in 3D printing?

Kyle: Chef Francisco Migoya, of Modernist Cuisine, has been an inspiration. Dinara Kasko, since we are both rogue architects making cakes.

Jenny: What motivates you the most for your work? 

Kyle: Seeing the way design is critical to the public’s understanding and acceptance of 3D printing is a motivator to do great work. 

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Photo credit: Sugar Lab

Jenny: What is/are the biggest obstacle(s) in your line of work? If you have conquered them, what were your solutions? 

Kyle: Early on the biggest challenge early on was regulatory, but that’s kind of a boring answer. A more pressing issue now is our research into alternative plant proteins, as well as sourcing and distributing food sustainably in a digital economy. 

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Photo credit: Sugar Lab

Jenny: What do you think is the biggest challenge in 3D Printing? What do you think the potential solution(s) is (are)?

Kyle: I think one of the biggest challenges is for the field to acknowledge inherent manufacturing limitations in some settings, and be careful to utilize 3D printing where it can be truly advantageous. 

Jenny: If you are granted three wishes by a higher being, what would they be? 

Kyle: I probably have everything I want, I’d see if anyone could use wishes. 

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Photo credit: Sugar Lab

Jenny: What advice would you give to a smart driven college student in the “real world”? What bad advice you heard should they ignore? 

Kyle: It’s always possible to know yourself better. Watch your friends grow into new people over time, encourage them, this is a gift, not a threat. 

Be very cautious taking on student debt. We focus a lot on success stories and optimism but you should plan out how to make payments in a very lean scenario.

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