The Cornell Creative Machines Lab has invented a 3-D printer that not only allows you to print food, but lets you create almost any design imaginable with your favorite ingredients. Working with experts from the French Culinary Institute, Cornell’s new technology may soon be available for chefs and home use, allowing enterprising cooks to customize new and interesting dishes with healthieringredients. We’ve seen a similar concept designed by a pair of students at MIT, but this ready made design takes things to a whole new level. Spaceship nuggets anyone?

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The new printer uses edible ink and an electronic blueprint system called FabApps. After drawing up the food’s design on a computer, the blueprint shows the printer what goes where, essentiallybuilding the food. Though a blueprint may be difficult to get ahold of, edible ink is anything from melted chocolate to cheese or cookie dough — anything that can fit through a syringe. Larger foods can also be groundand mixed with other liquids to make ink, as proven with the printer’s successful hamburger creation, complete with ketchup and mustard.

The head of the Cornell Lab, Jeffrey Ian Lipton, has created a new way of printing that allows the printer to change the texture of food. Stochastic printing results in a coiled looking design who’s absorbency can be completely controlled. Lipton and his team tried this procedure with corn masa used for tortilla chips, and created a flower shape that is even in texture and weight all around making it easier to deep fry.

Stochastic printing technology opens up a world of possibility for foods. Nearly everything can be produced to look and taste like something it is not. Chefs can customize new and interesting dishes incorporating healthieringredients while parents can make peas and carrots look like spaceships.

A New York tech start up called Essential Dynamics wants to come out with a 3-D food printer for the publicretailing around $1,000. Families could easily control the ingredients and shapes of their own foods, quickly making it an essential addition to the kitchen. Lipton adds: “What kid wouldn’t eat a space shuttle, even one made of peas?”

Via Fast Company

Images: Cornell Creative Machines Lab