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Thanks to some budding scientists from the UK, chocoholics all over the world, will soon have something to cheer about - Personalized 3-Dimensional Chocolate! What's even cooler is that this custom chocolate is not hand-crafted, but printed, using their special chocolate printer.
Developed by a team of students led by Dr. Liang Hao at UK-based University of Exeter, the machine uses liquid chocolate in lieu of ink and prints out multiple layers of the brown gooey stuff to make it into a 3-Dimensional design. The custom design can be something as simple as a heart, or as complex as a person's face.
Creating a printer like this was not an easy task - The biggest challenge they faced was to ensure that the chocolate stayed in liquid form during the creation process and then solidified when the design was done. In order to surmount this, the students developed specialized heating and cooling systems that kicked in at the appropriate times to create a smooth and delicious piece of candy.
But before you frantically start designing your cocoa masterpiece, be warned that the machine, innovatively named ChocALM (Chocolate Additive Layer Manufacturing) is still just a prototype and not available commercially. The team is still working on developing a software program that customers can use to create designs and a website where these creations can be uploaded and shared.
Dr. Hao believes that the machine, which is both low cost to run and non-hazardous, will be very popular with candy manufacturers and retailers - I for one, cannot wait! How cool would it be to receive a box of 3D chocolates that looked exactly like one wanted it to?
Resources: huffingtonpost.com, pcworld.com