The food industry is the next branch of economy to benefit from 3D printing.
In 2013, NASA announced their interest in 3D printing food in space, allowing Systems and Material Research Corporation from Austin, Texas to begin developing methods for printing food in space. NASA’s interest into 3D printing speaks volumes about just how big additive manufacturing can grow to one day!
Back on Earth, others are busy focusing on 3D printers that can print chocolate, ice cream and more!
From ChocEdge in the UK, all the way to Global 3D Labs in India, the chocolate 3D printing trend is catching on quickly – promising to, in the future, produce results to rival the world’s best chocolatiers!
|An Accurately Crafted England Football Badge
(Image taken from 3DPrint.com)
Of course, this entry into the 3D printing market is still young, and won’t be replacing the hard-working men and women in the chocolate industry anytime soon.
However, as with any growing technology – this is one to look out for in the future.
Currently, time constraints will hold this technology back. According to 3DPrintingIndustry.com, it would take up to 40 minutes to produce a single plate of chocolate. While this is far from ideal, 3D printers still have a few tricks up their sleeve.
The Choc Creator from ChocEdge, founded by Dr. Liang Hao – claims to be more accurate than human hands, laying layers of chocolate at measurements of 0.5mm to 1.0mm. Having been on the market since 2012, its’ successor, the Choc Creator V2 has only recently been launched.
|The Stylish Choc Creator V2
(Image taken from 3DPrint.com)
With the first entry marketed as a user-friendly yet capable device, the V2 (pictured below) offers technical supremacy – improving on feature’s such as the temperature control, according to 3ders.org. It also promises an improvement in accuracy, with printable chocolate tracks ranging from 0.45mm-1.3mm.
The price tag is heftier than its predecessor, but its promise to improve on an already capable machine should justify this. It was unveiled at the ‘2014 World 3D Printing Technology Industry Conference and Exhibition,’ which took place in China.
These printers allow users to deposit layers of chocolate on any surface desired – but what about as an ice cream topping?
Well, we’re not quite sure how that would work, but rest assured that other parties are working with ice cream and 3D printers. The idea is still in its infancy, after yet another group of promising students – this time from the world-renowned MIT – fiddled around with a printer until it was able to extrude ice-cream.
Check out the video below for a quick demonstration.
The students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Kyle Hounsell, Kristine Bunker and David Donghyun Kim – claimed to have taken interest in this novelty idea in a bid to excite children about 3D printing, as per 3ders.org.
“We felt that it was just as important to come up with a new technology as it was to interest the younger generation in pursuing science and technology so we can continue pushing the limits of what is possible,” Bunker told 3ders.org.
The three tech-junkies reportedly hacked a Solidoodle 4 3D printer, allowing for compatibility with a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker.
Another promising food related 3D printer is the Foodini, by Natural Machines. It allows home cooks
to place (preferably healthy) foodstuffs into open containers which are then pumped out via a syringe.
Its’ Kickstarter campaign was unfortunately unsuccessful, but still managed to raise a little more than $80,000 dollars, leaving it slightly off its $100,000 target mark. While this is indeed a revolutionary idea that needs time to be perfected, the decision to market it as a way to change how we prepare our food is slightly premature.
Of course, the Foodini is changing the way we fundamentally prepare dishes, but it isn’t necessarily making us eat healthier or save time with cooking.
Similar to other 3D devices, Foodini has its own online database where users are able to download different shapes and patterns for the variety of sweet and savory dishes. Powered by Android, the Foodini comes equipped with Wi-Fi and a 7-inch touchscreen.
The creators of Foodini, Lynette Kucsma and Emilio Sepulvedu, plan for their creation to be as popular as the microwave one day.
According to 3dprint.com, they also aspire to create ‘3D printing ovens’ one day. It’s difficult to imagine this materializing anytime soon, but it’s exciting to think that 3D printing technology will infiltrate such a core aspect of our lives – improving and revolutionizing the way we think about food.