3D fruit printer could crank out Frankenfruits on demand


May 26, 2014

The 3D fruit printer uses spherification to create hybrid fruits, or to recreate existing ones

The 3D fruit printer uses spherification to create hybrid fruits, or to recreate existing ones

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By now we're all quite used to seeing blended fruit juices such as banana-strawberry or apple-lime, but what about solid three-dimensional hybrid fruits that are made to order? Well, that's just what Cambridge, UK-based design company Dovetailed is promising, with its 3D fruit printer.

The machine was unveiled last Saturday at the Tech Food Hack event in Cambridge.

Although details on how it works are still a bit sparse, it is said to utilize "a molecular-gastronomy technique called spherification [that] combines individual liquid droplets with different flavors into a fruit shape."

According to a report on 3DPrint, the process likely involves combining fruit puree or juice with sodium alginate and then dripping the mixture into a bowl of cold calcium chloride. This causes the droplets to form into tiny caviar-like spheres, which could subsequently be mixed with spheres derived from other fruits. The blended spheres could then being pressed, extruded or otherwise formed into fruit-like shapes.

The designers claim that the machine is capable of 3D-printing existing types of fruit such as apples or pears, or user-invented combined fruits, within seconds. They add that the taste, texture, size and shape of those fruits can all be customized.

"Our 3D fruit printer will open up new possibilities not only to professional chefs but also to our home kitchens – allowing us to enhance and expand our dining experiences," said Dovetailed founder Vaiva Kalnikaitė.

The machine can be seen in action in the video below.

Source: Dovetailed via 3DPrint

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

Micro-encapsulization is another, decades-old technology that could be used for the same or similar purpose: liquid encapsulated within a non-soluble outer coating that releases the liquid when the capsule is crushed (it's used to contain the ink in in "carbonless paper"), also used in "scratch 'n' sniff" samples. Gelatin, or a gelatin-like substance could be used to encapsulate fruit juice or flavored water into powdered form and fashioned into fruit shapes, then deposited with a 3D printer.


I can see a whole new world opening into the future as people invent new and even better ways to utilise the 3D printers. Many-flavoured hamburgers anyone?

The Skud

"dripping the mixture into a bowl of cold calcium chloride."

"pressed, extruded or otherwise formed into fruit-like shapes."

Just wondering...don't the above snippets pretty much mean that this isn't a printer of any sort?

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