Science Tuesday: 3D Printing for Chocolate Because, Chocolate, Right?

Chris Lisinski, Staff Writer
@chrislisinski

Soon your chocolate will be more scientific than you/ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Dan4th Nicholas

Soon your chocolate will be more scientific than you/ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Dan4th Nicholas

When 3D printing technology first grabbed headlines, most consumers were wondering what the future held. Now, finally, the day of salvation is near: We will soon be able to print chocolate.

Legendary chocolatiers at The Hershey Company have teamed up with 3D Systems to develop the candy-printing system, according to a Thursday press release. The technology will be used to bring the confectionery business to a state reflecting our wildest sci-fi sweet-tooth dreams.

“Whether it’s creating a whole new form of candy or developing a new way to produce it, we embrace new technologies such as 3D printing as a way to keep moving our timeless confectionery treats into the future,” said Hershey Vice President William Papa in the release.

But despite all of the futuristic hubbub, 3D printing technology has actually existed since the 1980s — it has however only recently become accessible and commercially feasible.

The basic principle is that 3D printing is an “additive” process based on a digital model. Rather than use tools to chip away at a block of marble or to cut wood and glue it together, 3D printers creates its product by laying down layer after layer of material according to the computer design. The computer programming allows for significant customization.

3D Systems unveiled the ChefJet, what it calls “the world’s first and only professional-certified, kitchen-ready 3D food printer,” earlier this month in Las Vegas, the Huffington Post reported on Jan. 10. Now, Hershey’s candy printer falls under the same line of product design.

If we are lucky, when the candy bars of tomorrow arrive, five of them are wrapped with golden tickets so we can take a tour and learn how they are made (sans nightmare-inducing psychedelic trip on a boat, please).

We can only hope the next step is for Hershey to hire an eclectic, bipolar hermit with a penchant for purple top hats and glass elevators.

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