Here's a 3D Printer That Can Print Actual Food

Who needs a grocery store when you have a printer? Yesterday, 3D Systems unveiled “the world’s first and only professional-certified, kitchen-ready 3D printer,” which can produce candy and other sweets. The new development was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

There’s something a bit … inorganic about eating chocolate from a printer. Then again, most of the processed food we consume today has been put through some sort of technological process, so perhaps this new method is just another way of cutting out the middleman.

If you’re curious how these printers are able to make sweets, here’s how (via The Huffington Post):

A rolling pin-like mechanism first spreads a fine, even layer of powder on the printing surface. An inkjet print head then sprays a narrow stream of water, drawing on the layer of sugar in whatever pattern the owner has pre-programmed. When the water hits the powder, it recrystallizes, so that whatever the water touches hardens.

The ChefJet, as it’s being called, was developed at The Sugar Lab––a company 3D Systems acquired last September––and is intended for use by professional bakers and pastry chefs. Set for release in the first half of 2014, it will cost $5,000 for the lower-end models, and $10,000 for ChefJet Pro, which can print desert in color.

This isn’t the first time a 3D printer has been used in a rather unorthodox fashion (though, calling it “unorthodox” might be a bit of a stretch since a 3D printer itself is fairly odd to begin with). In 2012, Cody Wilson announced his intentions of creating a 3D-printable defense system––or more specifically, a 3D printer that could produce a gun. His company, Defense Distributed, currently builds (well, prints), lower receivers for AR-15s.

Our fingers are still crossed for 3D printers that can print steak dinners.