3D-Printed Vending Machine Snacks Are the Future

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Vending machines are a great way to grab a quick bite on the go or in between meals, but are we really using the technology to its full potential? Not according to one Finnish company, which, as Mashable reports, believes the future of vending machines will revolve around 3D-printed snacks.

There have been some pretty bizarre and niche vending machines in certain parts of the world, but most operate using the same basic idea: A customer inserts money in exchange for pre-packaged food. Now, Finland's VTT Technical Research Centre is developing ways to build machines that use 3D printing technology to create healthy snacks on demand. The company writes on its website that it has already experimented with printing starch and cellulose-based snacks, and it is currently working on 3D printing proteins from dairy and plants. Unfortunately, the project doesn't have a prototype, and there's no scheduled release date.

For VTT, texture is a major factor when it comes to "taste perception." The team says that 3D printing allows for foods to be made crunchy or with soft gels, which will produce a "distinctive mouthfeel." For those who can't wait to have the culinary experience of eating printed food, there are also personal devices on the way that can print chocolate, pasta, or even burgers at home.

It's still no food Hydrator like in Back to the Future, but if the printing time of these futuristic machines can be made significantly faster than current 3D printer technology, we'll take it.

[h/t Mashable]