Forget Hershey's kisses. Soon, you may be eating Hershey's robots, action figures or even a chocolate version of yourself.
Today (Jan. 16), 3D Systems and The Hershey Company announced they're partnering to develop new 3D-printing technologies to create candy, chocolate and other edibles
3D Systems recently announced a line of ChefJet printers that can print sugar-based edibles, such as candies, cake decorations and sugar statues. Liz Von Hasseln, co-creator of ChefJet, told TomsGuide.com that she is already collaborating with Hershey. "We are working with Hershey's to develop delicious recipes, products and capabilities for the ChefJet and ChefJet Pro," Von Hasseln said. "When these printers are released in the second half of this year, consumers will be enabled to design and produce their own confections, or order them through Cubify.com." (Cubify.com is 3D Systems' online store for 3D-printed products.)
3D Systems told TomsGuide.com that it will leverage ChefJet and the company's other print technologies with Hershey for both consumer and prosumer products, eventually offering both a selection of customized candy for sale and actual candy-making 3D printers so people can whip up their own confections.
William Papa, Hershey's vice president and chief research and development officer, said in a statement that 3D-printing technology is a way for Hershey to bring its treats into the future. Chuck Hull, chief technology officer at 3D Systems, said in the statement that the partnership with Hershey is the next step in making 3D printing more mainstream.
While few other details were made available, the possibilities seem endless: customized chocolate objects, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups with words printed on top, Hershey chocolate bars with pictures printed right onto them. And with 3D Systems' 3DMe service, which lets you 3D print a figurine with your face in a variety of possible uniforms and poses, you may soon be taking a bite out of yourself.
3D Systems isn't the only company to 3D print food; a Kickstarter project for the Piq printer, which creates chocolate objects, raised $26,000 — slightly more than the goal of $25,000. The Foodini printer can make pizza or ravioli. And NASA is researching food printers.