Scientists Develop 3-D Food Printer

Much like 2-D movies, edible menus and paper sushi are so passé. Researchers at the Cornell Creative Machines Lab have developed a printer to "print" edible 3-D dishes, including a "solid hamburger patty, with liquid layers of ketchup and mustard."

The method uses multiple cartridges, liquid food ink, and electronic blueprints. The ink is essentially liquid food — melted chocolate, cookie dough, ground vegetables mixed with other liquids. The blueprints, called FabApps, tell the printer where to place the ingredients, building up a meal layer by layer. So far, they've made a spaceship-shaped scallop, cakes with hidden messages, and a huge, flowery corn chip.

While this may not sound at all delectable, Fast Company reports that the printer also controls the texture and consistency of the food, meaning chefs can program a crunchy chip with an airy interior, or an extra-juicy fruit. Imagine the possibilities: Chocolate lava cake, perfect tempura, the best Fruit Gushers ever. Developers are working on a commercial model for just $1,000 (for scale, a standard printer on Amazon is about $200).

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