We've seen our fair share of 3D printers in the past couple years, and it feels like every week brings us a new device promising low-cost, high quality home manufacturing. If you can name it, there's probably a printer—or a floundering Kickstarter project—dedicated to producing it.
The majority of these printers are designed to make small parts and scale models, but we've also seen them used to build houses and manufacture replacement human body parts. But another surprising offshoot of the 3D printing revolution is the burgeoning food-printer market.
The latest entry in this promising field originated across the pond at UK-based innovation lab Dovetailed. The company has successfully developed a 3D printer capable of rendering fruit—sort of. The device uses an automated process similar to spherification to combine flavor-infused spheres of sodium alginate into a fruit-like shape. Sounds delicious, right?
The printer is aimed at foodies and chefs with a penchant for molecular gastronomy, and lets users customize the shape, texture, size, and taste of the resulting fruit spheres. But while the idea of a banana-flavored apple sounds good on paper, Dovetailed's device—to us, at least—shares the shortcomings of the similar Foodini. Specifically, the resulting food just doesn't look particularly appetizing.
But while this 3D fruit printer may not be the Star Trek–style food replicator we've all been waiting for, it's yet another step in the right direction.