3D printers have been used to make everything from egg cups to guns – and soon they could be whipping up your supper too.
Barcelona-based startup Natural Foods has shown off a prototype of the Foodini, a 3D printer for food. It works in much the same way as a ‘normal’ 3D printer, moving a nozzle based on pre-programmed settings and building up an item in layers. But instead of molten plastic, it’s pumping out stuff you can eat.
Natural Machines has made dishes such as pizzas, tarts, veggie burgers and ravioli, all of which look pretty tasty to us. The machine has its limitations, of course: any ingredient pumped out by the printer has to have a paste-like quality – not too runny, not too gloopy – so that the nozzle can control its flow and shape properly (with the pizza, for example, the dough and tomato sauce is printed while the cheese and herbs are added by hand); and only one ingredient can be printed at a time.
With the Foodini 3D printer in its prototype stage, it’ll be a while until you can buy it – but Natural Machines has already slapped a prospective price on the appliance: €1,000 (£840). The company has also knocked up a concept of the final version, which looks sufficiently stylish to suit even the slickest of modern kitchens.