I am 0% surprised that someone made a 3D food printer. If we can print jewelry and home decor and machine parts and sugar, why shouldn't we be able to print dinner? Barcelona-based company Natural Machines has created the Foodini, a tabletop machine that prints edibles ranging from cookies and crackers to burgers and pizza based on user-selected recipes and user-loaded ingredient capsules. An inevitable, though still possibly questionable application of modern technology, Foodini seeks crowdfunding on Kickstarter through April 25, 2014.
Though Foodini looks like a bearer of unhealthy, processed crapola, its concept and design actually center around whole, fresh foods. It aims to simplify the process of cooking nutritious meals without sacrificing variety, flavor, and gourmet appeal. In a December interview with NYDailyNews.com, Foodini co-creator Lynette Kucsma said, "One of our goals is to streamline some of cooking's more repetitive activities--forming dough into breadsticks, or filling and forming individual ravioli--to encourage more people to eat healthy, homemade foods."
Foodini dish assembly centers around its food capsules. Users fill these fist-sized pods with fresh recipe ingredients they have prepped (i.e., chopped, mixed, pureed) themselves. Once the capsules are loaded and the desired recipe selected on Foodini's touchscreen interface, the printing begins. Portions pipe out consistently-, precisely-, and evenly-sized--qualities it is often difficult to achieve when attempting homemade rolled cookies or crispy crackers. Once printing is complete, food that requires cooking is then transferred to the appropriate heat source.
In addition to its built-in touchscreen for food and recipe selection, Foodini will have an integrated app that connects to its online community. There, users will be able to view new recipes and watch 3D printing demos, plus access personalized online recipe boxes and upload their own recipe creations. The community site will be viewable either from the touchscreen or a tablet, laptop, or smartphone.
If at this point it seems like Foodini doesn't really take all the work out of cooking, it's because Foodini definitely does not take all the work out of cooking. Users will still need to prep any food intended for a Foodini capsule, which in some cases could require its own cooking process first. However, if we take Kucsma's example of ravioli, a dish even my mama wouldn't make me from scratch for my birthday that year I had to get my tonsils removed and an appendectomy and suffered a dislocated my shoulder while forced to square dance in gym class the week before, having a machine to roll, cut, stuff, and form the Italian pillows of joy could prove a legit service. And healthier at least in the sense that we would have complete control over every ingredient that goes into them.
Professional chefs and home entertainers can use Foodini to create artful designs out of dough and chocolate, while those with dietary restrictions and food allergies can attempt to replicate favorite packaged foods without incorporating offending ingredients. Foodini anticipates a retail price of $1,300, but Early Bird Kickstarter backers have the opportunity to score one for $999. Scheduled 3D printer delivery date is January 2015.