While it may sound futuristic, 3D printed foods are here.

A lot of the work is still in its early stages, with researchers at Cornell and MIT developing 3D printers made specifically for edible products. But there are also some commercial projects underway. Barilla, Hershey, and Mondelez International are just a few of the consumer food brands exploring the potential of 3D printing.

Check out these 3D printed Oreos, customized via Twitter suggestions.

At this year's SXSW, Mondelez International 3D printed custom Oreos based on what was trending on Twitter with the hashtag #eatthetweet. SXSW attendees could choose from 12 flavors including banana, mint, birthday cake, and lime, and then select either a chocolate or vanilla base for the cookie. The Oreo would then be printed in two minutes.

Apparently the cookies tasted like regular Oreos, but they fell apart a bit too easily.

The 3D printing machine was created by MAYA Design using a Delta Bot 3D printer, but at this point it will probably still just be a fun marketing stunt as opposed to something you'd see in a grocery store.



Structur3D Printing printed up some cool Nutella creations.

3D printing startup Structur3D created a 3D printer add-on called Discov3ry, which can create a paste from all sorts of materials, including plastic, silicone, wood filler, and yes, Nutella.

At this past year's Maker Faire show, Structur3D demonstrated how they could print the Maker Faire logo with Nutella. Besides the Nutella creations, the add-on can also be used to print intricate cake decorations or complex designs using icing sugar.

The Discov3ry is available for preorder for $349, but you'll also need to have a 3D printer that is compatible with the add-on. The device is set to ship in December. 



3D Systems is working on releasing a kitchen-ready printer that would let you print out elaborate confections.

In January, 3D Systems announced that it was getting ready to sell ChefJet, kitchen-ready 3D printers to create edible products.

The printer was showcased at CES and is targeting the average consumer, who probably doesn't have much experience with 3D printing. A complimentary "Digital Cookbook" will let users easily select a design to print out in a variety of materials, including chocolate, vanilla, mint, sour apple, cherry, and watermelon.

They're aiming to launch two printers by the end of 2014 with the monochrome version in the sub-$5,000 price range and the full-color, larger printer in the sub-$10,000 price range.



Barilla is developing a 3D pasta printer.

Barilla, the world's top pasta seller, is working on a 3D pasta printer for restaurants.

The machine would be able to print 15-20 pieces every two minutes, getting a pasta dish to a diner in just a few minutes. It would also allow for custom-designed pasta shapes.

Instead of flour and egg, the restaurants would need to feed Barilla pasta cartridges into the printer.

The machine is being developed with a Dutch tech company called TNO Eindhoven. They've been tested in a few restaurants in Eindhoven, but have yet to be mass-produced.




See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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