Whether you like it or not, 3D printed food is on the way

whether like 3d printed food way chefjet

Despite the fact that buying a bulky, expensive machine to print your food isn’t the most practical or attractive idea for most consumers, there are a handful of companies in the 3D printing space that are racing to get food printers into your kitchen and relieve you of your culinary duties. 

The latest such device was unveiled last week at CES, when South Carolina-based company 3D Systems pulled the curtain back on the ChefJet and ChefJet Pro – two new machines that the company is billing as “the world’s first and only professionally-certified, kitchen-ready 3D food printers.”

Unlike some of the 3D food printers we’ve come across in the past, this one is designed specifically to make candy and dessert. It also works in a slightly different manner. Rather than using pre-loaded tubes to squirt out the edible printing material, ChefJet printers use a granular materials binding technique to create custom-designed sweets.

Here’s how it works: First, a roller spreads a thin, even layer of fine-grain sugar onto the printing substrate. Then, the printing head sprays a narrow stream of water onto the sugar in whatever pattern you’ve programmed it to create. When the water mixes with the sugar, the sugar recrystallizes and bonds to neighboring grains, thus causing it to form a rigid shape when it dries. This process is then repeated, layer by layer, until the desired shape is created. 

Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 11.08.08 AM

Using this method, ChefJet can print sugar, chocolate, and candy in practically any design imaginable. The larger version, ChefJet Pro, is even equipped with a full palette of food colorings and dyes, which makes it possible to print some incredibly elaborate treats.

Cool? Most definitely. Practical? Not really, and 3D systems knows it. At $5,000 and $10,000 respectively, ChefJet and ChefJet Pro aren’t targeted at regular consumers, but instead geared toward professional confectioners, bakers, pastry chefs, and chocolatiers. 

The ChefJet food printers are set to go on sale in the latter part of 2014, so for the time being you’ll just have to stick to dropping those boring, normally-shaped sugar cubes into your coffee.

[image credit: pcpro]

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: DIY smartphones and zip-on bike tires

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Outdoors

Keep your noggin protected in style with this 3D-printed bike helmet

Kupol is the bike helmet that uses 3D printing to improve the design, making it safer, more comfortable, and better ventilated than traditional cycling helmets while remaining lightweight and attractive at the same time.
Emerging Tech

Scientists created a condom that self-lubricates during sex. You’re welcome

Researchers from Boston University have invented a special coating for condoms which make them respond to bodily fluids by becoming more slippery. Here's how their new breakthrough works.
Photography

Adobe’s Premiere Rush is a video-editing app designed for social media projects

At Adobe MAX 2018, Adobe unveiled updates across the board for all of its Creative Cloud apps, from the release of Premiere Rush CC, a social-focused video editor, to Project Gemini, a digital drawing and painting tool.
Smart Home

Simplisafe steps outside the smart home with its Video Doorbell Pro

SimpiSafe is pushing into the smart home market by introducing a new high-tech video doorbell that includes 1080p HD monitoring and a dual-sensor motion trigger that combines a body heat detector and a motion detector.
Smart Home

Facebook’s new Portal device can collect your data to target your ads

Facebook confirmed that its new Portal smart displays, designed to enable Messenger-enabled video calls, technically have the capability to gather data on users via the camera and mic onboard.
Product Review

Bigger. Smarter. Louder. The Echo Plus makes Alexa sound better than ever

Amazon’s second-generation Echo Plus speaker is the loudest, bassiest speaker in the Echo fleet. While featuring a smart hub with only Zigbee connectivity, other upgrades make this device a worthy smart speaker.
Smart Home

Amazon Echo vs. Echo Plus: Which should you get?

If you're trying to choose between the Amazon Echo or the Echo Plus, then this guide is for you. It compares the two Alexa-enabled speakers in cost, size, looks, functionality, and more.
Deals

Add color and subtract $50 with this Philips Hue lighting starter kit deal

If you've been on the fence about purchasing smart lightbulbs, Amazon is selling the Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit for just $100. For a limited time Amazon is also offering a bundle deal of Philips Hue's White and Color…
Smart Home

Second-gen vs. third-gen Echo Dot: What’s the difference?

Amazon's third-generation Echo Dot was just released. Is it worth upgrading your second-generation Echo Dot? Here, we take a closer look at the two devices to see how much Amazon has improved its flagship Alexa voice assistant smart…
Smart Home

Amazon has an even dozen new smart devices. Here’s how to order

Amazon's hardware announcement meant a whole bunch of new Amazon Alexa gadgets. From a microwave to stereo equipment, here is the complete list of devices that were announced, as well as reviews for some.
Smart Home

Vector, the engaging Alexa-like robot, is ready to roam around your home

Anyone who has ever watched Short Circuit or WALL-E has surely dreamed about having a robot buddy come live with them. Finally, that dream is now a reality. It's name is Vector, and it's available now.
Smart Home

Brew it fast, hot, and flavorful with our favorite coffee makers

Whether you're looking for a simple coffee maker to get you through the morning or a high-end brewer that will impress your taste buds and your friends, you'll find some of the best coffee makers around on this list.
Deals

The best iRobot Roomba deals to make cleaning your home a breeze

Keep your home clean without lifting a finger using a robot vacuum cleaner. These nine iRobot Roomba deals not only help you keep your home tidy, but many also come with advanced features such as automatic scheduling and Wi-Fi connectivity.