Dovetailed's 3D Fruit Printer
There’s many a debate at Personalize Palace/TCT Towers as to what constitutes “3D Printing”; "Is Mcor's Selective Deposition Lamination technically 3D printing?", "Is printing beef from cultured cow tissues really 3D printing?" etc etc... The problem is that the mainstream press use the term so fast and loose that it leads to comments like this one at the bottom of a Daily Mail article on a 3D printed kayak:
Littlemiss, Townsville, United Kingdom, 12 hours ago
The DM (Ed. Daily Mail) is the ONLY source I’ve ever heard about this fabled 3D printer – give it a rest!!
Clearly Littlemiss is not a reader of TCT or Personalize (or any other news source in the world come to think of it) because everyone, not just the DM, is talking about 3D printing heck it is even depicted in the latest Disney movie!
But what the term can be defined as is a tricky one; we, in the industry, tend to think of it as any machine that uses the additive manufacturing process. The term 3D printing when used for something as incredible as bioprinting sort of does the scientists, who spent years in stem-cell research, a disservice by suggesting that a machine does all the hard work. On the other hand the one size fits all approach does bring some great publicity for important work.
This latest development fits into that category with a slight reluctance to call it “3D Printing” at all. Dovetailed, a Cambridge UK based design studio and innovation lab, have created a 3D Fruit Printer.
The fruit printer can apparently build up bespoke edible fruits using a droplet system based on the molecular gastronomy technique of spherification. The technique turns liquids into spheres, which resemble Caviar, and was discovered by Unilever in the 50s. Spherification was later popularised by three-time Michelin-starred chef Ferran Adrià at the famed elBulli restaurant in Catalonia.
The 3D Fruit Printer automates this process and as shown in the video above can be used to create organic and flavourful fruit on demand. Dr. Gabriel Villar, Chief Inventor at Dovetailed, said: “With our novel printing technique, you can not only re-create existing fruits, but also invent your own creations. The taste, texture, size and shape of the fruit can all be customised.”
The prototype was debuted at the Tech Food Hack event in Cambridge over the weekend and has some pretty lofty backing from Microsoft Research Cambridge. Tim Regan, principal scientist at Microsoft, told Cambridge News: “We are fascinated how 3D printing changes the way we appreciate and reflect on the form of the things we make and use.
“Dovetailed’s work inventing a 3D printer that prints fruit unlocks new creative possibilities that reach further still into our everyday lives and our expressive potentials.”
The brains behind Dovetailed is Dr. Vaiva Kalnikaitė, a senior fellow at University College London, whose previous creations have included; a shopping trolley handle that detects the journeys made by foodstuff and was featured on Channel 4’s The Gadget Man; and visualising Mill Road a community data project, which was featured on the BBC.
Kalnikaitė, said of this project: “We have been thinking of making this for a while. It’s such an exciting time for us as an innovation lab. Our 3D fruit printer will open up new possibilities not only to professional chefs but also to kitchens in our home – allowing us to enhance and expand our dining experiences. We have re-invented the concept of fresh fruit on demand.”
There's very little information with regards to pricing, how the product is getting to market or how the machine actually works. The press release says it is "aimed at chefs, foodies and anyone interested in making creative dining experiences." so we don't imagine this is going to come cheap, probably in the same bracket as a meal for two at elBulli.