There have been a lot of food printers around recently, such as the ChefJet Pro by 3D Systems and the Foodini, by Natural Machines. Even though the Foodini didn’t raise enough money on Kickstarter, there is no sign of 3D food printing being a one day fly. Printers come and go, and this year’s edition of Californian inventions festival Maker Faire welcomes a new food printer: the PancakeBot. As you might have already guessed, this machine can print you a pancake.
As this is a printer, it enables users to produce pancakes with highly complex shapes, such as the Eiffel tower. The team has created two versions of the printer, namely a LEGO version and an acrylic version. It’s the company’s goal to inspire kids to have fun with their food as well as develop interests in technical fields, such as engineering, programming and food manufacturing. In other words: kids learn something about science by creating a pancake. Didn’t hear that one before, did you?
Surely an interesting machine, and as we already said before, it can be seen as part of a wave of food printing developments. A lot of new developments have entered the radar, with Insects au Gratin as the most interesting one. British scientists are working on a way to produce appetizing meals from insects, using 3D printers. Insects will be turned into flour, after which a 3D printer turns the flour into protein-rich products, such as bread. The flour is a combination of crashed insects and larvae and chocolate, cream cheese or spices. The project might initially turn your stomach upside down, but noting that the world population is expected to grow, new ways of producing food will be necessary.
Not as healthy as the insects project, but definitely worth mentioning is a project by 3D Systems. The company will deliver two new food printers at the second half of 2014. The ChefJet and ChefJet Pro are designed to produce 3D printed candy. Users will be given the possibility to design their own sweets on their computers using any shape they want to. Douglas Cobb from The Guardian checked out a demonstration of the printers during CES 2014 and reported that some of the sweets looked more like origami than actual candy.
And then there’s NASA, that wants food printing to solve its terrible space meals. In 2013, Anjan Contractor received as much as 125,000 dollars to design a food printer to print out pizzas in space. Contractor has stated that it only costs about 70 seconds to cook a pizza after it’s being printed. Probably a big relief for cosmonauts – and more than forty years after having sent the first man to the moon, the time now seems right for the first 3D printed pizza on the moon.
Credits image: PancakeBot/ Miguel Valenzuela.