Well, it had to happen sooner or later… As 3D printing technology advances, it only makes sense that someone would eventually come up with the bright idea of putting it to work to actually create something useful. That’s right, the world’s first 3D pizza printer is now a reality. An Austin, Texas-based tech firm, Systems and Materials Research Corporation, has built a working prototype that may eventually pave the way for 3D pizza printers in the home.
Granted, pizza printing technology is still in its infancy – the prototype is not quite ready to print a pizza anyone would probably want to eat, but the geeks at SMRC have proven that it can be done, and we’re betting that sooner or later, 3D pizza printers will be as common as toasters. Of course, it remains to be seen whether or not 3D printed pizza can ever rival the hand-made variety (or even mass-produced frozen pizza, for that matter), and no doubt, purists may never be able to accept the concept, but there’s really no reason that it can’t be done with fairly satisfactory results.
Toppings may be the biggest challenge in the long run, but the basic crust, sauce and cheese equation is well within the theoretical capabilities of 3D printing technology. The prototype created by the Austin team was more a demonstration of viability than edibility – they used ketchup and cream cheese to make the first version, but the fact that it worked at all would seem to indicate that a more sophisticated prototype is not too far off in the future. With the rapidity of technological advances these days, it could be only a matter of months before a reasonable facsimile of a traditional pizza margherita is created in the lab.
Before you write off the idea as a “pie in the sky” scheme (pun intended), consider this: today’s typical frozen pizza is a mass-produced factory product made with similar technology, only on a larger scale. The difference between a frozen pizza you can find in any grocery store and a “printed” one is fairly minimal – and as 3D printing capabilities improve, there’s likely to be no significant qualitative distinction between the two. The only real difference will be the fact that you don’t have to travel to the store to get one. That’s probably bad news for those who are concerned with ever-increasing obesity levels, particularly among Americans, but hey, maybe that’s just part of the price of freedom, eh?