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Hershey's to turn 3D printers into vending machines

  • This week's 5 most fantastic innovations and ideas!
  • Hershey's inks deal with 3D printing company
  • Also: New Google innovation could help diabetics
Hershey's to turn 3D printers into vending machines

Makerbot CEO: 3D printing brings 'wild ideas' to life

Makerbot CEO: 3D printing brings 'wild ideas' to life

Future: Achieved! We can now PRINT A PIZZA!!

Future: Achieved! We can now PRINT A PIZZA!!

Editor's note: Karyn Lu is Turner Broadcasting's manager of New Media Insights & Inspiration. Each week, she scouts out amazing innovations, cutting-edge technology and, well, just really awesome stuff. Before it goes mainstream, it's going to be one of her 5 Things From The Future!

The next time your sweet tooth starts craving that candy bar, what if all you have to do is hit “Print?”

This week, we bring you some yummy news from the amazing world of 3D printing: the ability to design and print your own chocolate, candy and other edible products at home. We have already seen how 3D printing technology has enabled everything from printing robots to clothing to houses to spare parts in zero gravity -- but now, it’s moving to even more delicious heights.

A company called 3D Systems has teamed up with Hershey's in announcing they will be creating a 3D chocolate printer.

"We embrace new technologies such as 3D printing as a way to keep moving our timeless confectionery treats into the future," Hershey's said in a statement. It's also a good way to keep moving 3D printing (especially when it involves food) into the mainstream.

The ability to easily create chocolates and candies may well be the impetus for adopting this new technology: Just imagine birthday parties and weddings and Halloween with completely customized, edible treats. Chocolate mini-me's? Yes, please!

The idea's certainly already catching on. Just last month, we very excitedly reported on a printer that makes pizza and turkey burgers. Also, Google already serves up 3D printed pasta in their cafeterias. And NASA is looking into 3D printing food in space.

Fast Company reported from CES on the rise of 3D printed candy and other foods, aptly calling this development the “easy bake oven of the digital age.” 3D Systems’ ChefJet and ChefJet Pro printers are able to print confections using sugar and water to crystallize frosting in real time, creating some "amazingly beautiful candy."

3D Systems' ChefJet and ChefJet Pro printers, estimated at $5,000, will likely be available the second half of this year. No word yet on when Hershey’s 3D chocolate printer will be available, or how much that will cost. But you don’t have to be a pastry chef to start getting excited about the possibilities now. If you can dream it, you can print it in chocolate.

Here are four more of this week's amazing Things From the Future!

1. Here's how a huge wall in Sochi will morph into the shape of Olympics fans' faces.

2. Google's contact lens aims to use tears to check diabetics' blood-sugar levels.

3. What time is it? Smell-thirty. Watch emits perfume to tell the time.

4. This LED-packed, prop-stuffed "smart" jacket goes nuts when you eat chocolate.

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Facebook-linked jacket lets you feel the love!
Things From The Future | See all 75 items Facebook-linked jacket lets you feel the love!