Mock choc shock: 3D candy printer is good news for sweet-toothed swingbellies

Bad news: It squirts Hershey's

3D printed chocolate

CES 2015 Behold the latest marvel of wonder technology: the CocoJet, a 3D printer that can create intricate chocolate structures that will then be crushed in eager mouths.

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The machine, built by 3D Systems, uses nozzles to pump down dark, milk, and white chocolate onto software-specified designs. The brown stuff comes from Hershey, which kicked in cash and research to the project. The hardware was demonstrated at CES 2015 in Las Vegas today.

"We are now using 3D technology to bring Hershey goodness to consumers in unanticipated and exciting ways," said Will Papa, chief research officer at The Hershey Company. "3D printing gives consumers nearly endless possibilities for personalizing their chocolate, and we look forward to continued development of this amazing technology."

The critical question, of course, is how does it taste? Not good, if the current standards of what Hershey euphemistically calls chocolate here in the US. The firm describes it as "edible," which doesn't inspire confidence.

Nevertheless, culinary printing is a big thing for 3D Systems, and it's planning a major push to get a 3D printer into the catering business, and eventually the home.

The firm's ChefJet, a printer aimed at confectioners making edible cake toppings and displays, goes on sale this summer, and it's just announced a partnership with The Culinary Institute of America to develop a better model.

In the more mundane world of plastics printing, 3D Systems is already selling the Ekocycle, a $1,200 3D printer that uses recycled material. The firm recruited Black Eyed Pea will.i.am as chief creative officer to showcase the Ekocycle.

"We will make it cool to recycle, and we will make it cool to make products using recycled materials," said Mr i.am. "This is the beginning of a more sustainable 3D-printed lifestyle. Waste is only waste if we waste it."

There's no release date yet for the CocoJet, but don't expect one in the home any time soon: this kind of printing is expensive and complex. But culinary printing is coming, if something palatable rather than just pretty can be produced. ®

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