MIT is one of the premier places for interesting research in the fields of 3D printing and personal fabrication. The MIT Fluid Interfaces Group (a part of the amazing MIT Media Lab) is proving this once again with their Cornucopia concept. Cornucopia is a 3D printer for food. Not a 3D printer that can print confectionery, or lay down some chocolate. The concept is for a 3D printer that can actually print a diverse selection of food from ingredients stored in the device. Cornucopia would be mindblowing if it existed. The Fluid Interfaces Group is starting on the project now and I'm very curious to see what will come of it.
The system seems to be a simple FDM or fused deposition modeling system so in the basis is not that complicated to make. Having the correct temperatures, viscosities etc. for the extrusion process and cooking of a diverse set of ingredients would seem to be very complex however. Maizena anyone?
The Fluid Interfaces Group, formerly the Ambient Intelligence Group, were the people behind the Sixth Sense, if you've not heard of this then wearable computer system read this article and watch the TED video. Based on that and other achievements I think that the Cornucopia might indeed be a gift of plenty. I sometimes think of Shapeways as a Domino's Pizza for stuff but I've never actually considered that we'd get into the food business.