Burritob0t is the creation of Marko Manriquez, a designer who studied at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program. Before you get your hopes up too high (like I did), the machines doesn't actually produce the tortillas. Rather, it does what all 3D printers do: It adds layer upon layer of material onto a base (the tortilla). Instead of liquid plastic, the Burritob0t squirts out melted cheese, beans, salsa, guacamole and sour cream, in amounts set by the user on iPhone or iPad app.
Writing about 3D printing at CES 2012, Jaymi laid out a case for why the technology is green:
But if you're buying it for a kid to teach them about design and crafting prototypes in order to test and improve design -- essentially raising the next generation of minimal-waste-minded designers and engineers -- then it certainly has a strong green edge. And if you're buying it because as a designer, this tool can really help you build the best products using minimal materials for new prototypes, then yes, it's certainly green.
Simply put, 3D printing your own products makes you think about how things are made; it's empowering. That's the case Manriquez makes with the Burritob0t, applied to food. If you are encouraged to consider what goes into your food (and the fun quality of this project will encourage you, I think), you're in a position to make healthier choices, for you and the planet. Manriquez says:
Burritob0t, in turn, aims to encourage dialogue about how and where our food is grown, methods of production, environmental impact, cultural appropriation, and, perhaps most importantly: what our food means to us.
Burritob0t is still a ways away from becoming a reality; Manriquez is now working on starting a Kickstarter campaign to raise necessary funds for production (he's not looking to make a profit). If it comes together, it could be a real hit. At the very least, there will be more burritos in the world, and that's a good thing.