Welcome to the future, where delicious ice cream can be printed by a machine.
MIT professor John Hart's additive manufacturing class is no stranger to tasty treats. During the fall 2013 semester, students 3D-printed 600 ice cream spoons.
But recently, his students went all the way with their ice cream ambitions.
In Hart's spring 2014 class, students split off into teams to create new uses for 3D printers. Teammates Kristine Bunker, Kyle Hounsell and David Donghyun Kim, hacked together a modified 3D printer that could produce the frozen delicacy at will.
The core components of their invention include a modified soft-serve ice cream maker, a compressor for liquid nitrogen, a freezer and a 3D printer.
Bunker told TechCrunch:
"We were inspired to design this printer because we wanted to make something fun with this up and coming technology in a way that we could grab the attention of kids. We felt that it was just as important to come up with a new technology as it was to interest the younger generation in pursuing science and technology so we can continue pushing the limits of what is possible.”
Using their device, the trio printed up a delicious, melty star that was instantly frozen with a blast of liquid nitrogen as it emerged. The team posted a YouTube video showing what the process looks like in action.
Bunker told TechCrunch that the dairy delight fueled the team members while they were creating the device:
"We ate a lot of ice cream during the making [of] the machine especially during the couple all-nighters when ice cream became our midnight snack and breakfast, it was a great project and we had a lot of fun working on it."
Interested in more on 3D printing? Check out this infographic on the history of the technology.