3D personalized chocolate gifts are now a possibility.
Researchers at the University of Exeter have developed a 3D printer that prints layers of chocolate instead of plastic or ink.
The invention is still a prototype, yet some retailers have already expressed interest in purchasing the device.
To increase productivity 3D printing with plastic and metal is generally used.
Liang Hao, coordinator of the research team, says that chocolate printing is like any other 3D printing technique, starting from a flat image of a product similar to that produced by regular printers.
“Then you do a 3D shape – layer by layer, printing chocolate instead of ink, like if you were layering 2D paper to form a 3D shape,” he continues.
This isn’t the first time scientists attempt to develop so-called “food printers”. In 2010, researchers at Cornell University in the U.S. have used food as a liquid ink for a special machine designed to print in 3D mode.
Dr. Richard Hague from Loughborough University said that the system created by researchers at Exeter is a step forward in achieving a flawless device capable of printing edible 3D objects.
Some companies already expressed interest in the technique. Retailers are mostly attracted to the idea that each client can choose shapes for their desired product. An interesting fact is that models can be designed on the computer before being printed.