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Difficult to believe, but true! A company called Natural Machines has introduced a 3D printer for food.
Christened as Foodini, it’s isn’t too different from a regular 3D printer, but instead of printing with plastics, it deploys edible ingredients squeezed out of stainless steel capsules:
Lynette Kucsma, co-founder of Natural Machines says, it’s the same technology, but with plastics there’s just one melting point, whereas with food it’s different temperatures, consistencies and textures.
Also, gravity works a little bit against us, as food doesn’t hold the shape as well as plastic.”
The Barcelona-based startup behind the machine says it’s the only one of its kind capable of printing a wide range of dishes, from sweet to savory.
In short, this is a mini food manufacturing plant shrunk down to the size of an oven.
He further pointed out that at least in the initial stage the printer will be targeted mostly at professional kitchen users, with a consumer version to follow, at a projected retail price of around $1,000.
Foodine is here to spoil you: press a button to print your ravioli. But Natural Machines is quick to point out that it’s designed to take care only of the difficult and time-consuming parts of food preparation that discourage people from cooking at home, and that it promotes healthy eating by requiring fresh ingredients prepared before printing.
The company is working with major food manufacturers to create pre-packaged plastic capsules that can just be loaded into the machine to make food, even though they assure these will be free of preservatives, with a shelf life limited to five days.
The printing process is slow, but faster than regular 3D printing. Other than being capable of creating complex designs, such as very detailed cake decorations or food arranged in unusual shapes, the Foodini can be useful for recipes that require precision and dexterity, like homemade pizza or filled pasta.
Currently, the device only prints the food, which must be then cooked as usual. But a future model will also cook the preparation and produce it ready to eat.
There is also a touchscreen on the front that connects to a recipe site in the cloud, so it’s an internet-of-things, connected kitchen appliance, Kucsma further pointed out that users will also be able to control the device remotely using a smartphone, and share their recipes with the community.
The company is completing a round of formalities and plans to begin mass manufacturing in the second half of 2015.