Can 3D-Printed Ice Cream Get Kids Into Science?

Three MIT students have developed a way to print ice cream. For science.

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Want to get kids interested in science and technology? Just bribe them with ice cream!

That’s the thinking behind a 3D ice cream printer recently developed by three enterprising MIT students. The device extrudes ice cream from a hacked Cuisinart soft-serve machine and immediately freezes it, which allows a Solidoodle 3D printer to produce additive layers of tasty goodness.

To prevent the ice cream from melting, the students—Kyle Hounsell, Kristine Bunker, and David Donghyun Kim—keep a steady stream of liquid nitrogen flowing onto the printer plate. In the video below, you can see that the process takes a bit more time than a simple soft serve machine, but come on—it’s just a proof of concept.



“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,” Bunker told TechCrunch. “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.”

Kids might jump at the opportunity to print their ice cream into unique shapes.

There are no existing plans to commercialize the ice cream printer, but the students noted that some ice cream parlors could be interested in it. Kids certainly might get excited about the prospect of printing their ice cream into unique shapes.

If nothing else, the ice cream printer (I'll never get tired of typing that phrase) offers a brief glimpse at the future of dessert—one that, thankfully, has nothing to do with those dreadful Dippin’ Dots. I hate that stuff.

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Hero image: Wikimedia Commons, "Zechariah Judy" (CC BY 2.0)

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