Because apparently Americans don't have easy enough access to junk food, soon getting a candy bar could be as easy as hitting "print."
Three-dimensional printer maker 3D Systems announced a deal with the Hershey Company Thursday to collaborate on developing a 3-D printer that makes chocolate and other edible products.
In a statement, 3D Systems said making printers that print chocolate is a good way to help the relatively new technology go mainstream. Hershey sees it as a great delivery system for its products.
"Whether it's creating a whole new form of candy or developing a new way to produce it, we embrace new technologies such as 3-D printing as a way to keep moving our timeless confectionery treats into the future," said William Papa, head of research and development at Hershey, in a statement.
There is no word as to when the magical device might be available, how much it might cost, or how exactly it'll be different from a machine that makes candy bars.
3-D printing is exactly what it sounds like -- the ability to print actual, tangible products instead of words on a page. It's usually done by adding the raw material -- plastic, metal, or, in this case, chocolate -- to the printer instead of ink and building the product layer by layer.
At the consumer level, most 3-D printing is done by hobbyists, who print everything from toys to clothes to musical instruments. Consumer 3-D printers start at about $1,000.
But at the industrial level they are used to make manufacturing operations more efficient, making mostly in high end products for the aerospace, medical or automotive sectors.
Some think 3-D printing could soon revolutionize the manufacturing sector, cutting out the need for expensive transportation and making the whole concept of outsourcing seem so 20th century.
With Hershey's chocolate printer in the works, there may finally be a 3-D printing solution for the masses.