Virtual reality and 3D-printed food to shape ‘Christmas of the future’

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3D-printed Christmas dinners and LED wallpaper displaying Christmas scenes could be part of festive seasons to come, according to futurists.

The new Christmas of the Future report by Amazon claims food could be shaped into festive symbols using such technology, while artificial intelligence will be used to create gift wish lists based on social media likes.

Their report also suggested other parts of Christmas celebrations, including tree decorations such as baubles, could also be 3D-printed.

Improvements in hydroponics technology, where vegetables can be grown without soil but in mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent, could enable people to grow the vegetables for Christmas dinner in their kitchen.

Futurist William Higham of consultancy Next Big Thing and food trend researcher Dr Morgaine Gaye were part of the research team, which looked up to 20 years into the future.

“For many, an impressive feast is what makes Christmas,” Dr Gaye said.

“Soon we will be adding even more of a homemade touch to our Christmas spreads, from using hydroponic technology to help us grow fruit and vegetables in our kitchens, no matter how small, to 3D printing helping us to create stunning edible artworks for dessert.”

Mr Higham added that virtual and augmented reality could also be used to help families kept apart at Christmas to simulate being together.

Oculus Rift

“December is a time of preparation and celebration, and technology will put a festive twist on how we approach Christmas in the future, while making the celebration more convenient and communal,” he said.

“One innovation we can expect to see used over the festive period is augmented reality in the home. Christmas is a time for family, and advanced technology could allow families who live miles apart to celebrate and interact together.

“The introduction of haptic clothing, which recreates the sense of touch through vibrations or motions, will allow us to feel closer to overseas relatives by giving them a ‘haptic hug’ on Christmas morning.

“And holographic imaging will be a way to project 3D versions of our friends and family into our living rooms so they can get ‘virtually’ involved in the festivities.”