First take on a food 3D printer

Everyone thinks today that 3D printing is going to revolutionize the world….and I could’nt agree more. As the internet democratized the creation of content, 3D printing is sure to democratize manufacturing of products. More so customized products which are absolutely tailored for you.

A startup Structure3D has just opened up a paste extruding machine that can be hooked up to any 3D printer, capable of spitting out Nutella, cookie dough and inedible materials like silicone.  The Discov3ry offers printing enthusiasts a simple, ingenious and affordable hardware add-on solution for printing a wide range of pastes. Now Makers can quickly and inexpensively experiment with easily sourced materials, like silicone, clay and cake frosting — allowing them to do more. You connect the box with the printer via a tube. Inside the box, a syringe sits upright and a disk slowly pushes up on it, causing it to squeeze material into the tube.

See the Disocov3ry in action:

There are also quite a few people who are trying to break this barrier of creating custom food through 3D printing. Earlier this year Barilla had teamed up with Dutch scientific research firm TNO to work on a custom 3D pasta printer, capable of printing 15-20 pieces of pasta every two minutes. The eventual idea would be for customers to head into a restaurant, possibly with their own pasta CAD files, and print them right at the table.

After its largest competitor, Hershey, teamed up with 3D Systems to develop 3D printed chocolate and non-chocolate products, Nestle has decided to up the 3D printing ante.  The company’s research division, the Nestle Institute of Health Sciences (NIHS), is working on tools to analyze and measure the levels of a number of essential nutrients in a given person’s body.  Then, once they’ve tackled the analysis side of the equation, the company imagines using 3D food printing to create meals tailored to the nutritional needs of an individual.

As India’s 3D printing industry starts to grow at a rapid pace, a group of students at Manipal Institute of Technology took it upon themselves to use chocolate as their 3D printing medium. And the result is: the ChocoBot. While plenty of companies, like Nestle and Hershey, have explored 3D foodprinting, we’ve yet to see much of a tangible result. If these can produce an inexpensive chocolate 3D printer for consumers, it may spur more serious entries in the market.

Recently I came across a very good TED talk by Avi Reichental on the future of 3D printing. He talks about how this technology could give way to hyperlocal manufacturing by the new generation making custom fabrication and manufacturing available to all.

Watch his talk here:

What do you think of this trend?

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~ by digivine on October 1, 2014.

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