Solutions for Self-Reliance

Maker Monday: Your Very Own ‘Cake Boss’


Do you want the skills of a great pastry chef?

I do.  Fresh pastries are amazing.  A simple luxury that goes a long way to making a snack or desert an experience to remember.

Unfortunately, although I’m pretty good in the kitchen, making great pastries is hard.   It takes years of practice to get great.  I don’t have that kind of time.

So, it’s great to find Hod Lipson and his team at Cornell using their excellent open source personal  fabrication system (fab@home) to automate the preparation of food (and particularly pastries).

The design of fab@home is a little different than most of the other fabrication systems currently available. It uses syringes that allow you to put nearly any type of “goo” (icing, dough, etc.) into the machine that you want to print with.  That allows a considerable amount of flexibility in what you can actually create with it.

What’s really interesting, is that the team at Cornell is having some considerable success to date preparing complex foods.  For example: adding icing with the precision of the Cake Boss.  As a result, it doesn’t appear that this application of the technology is that far away from becoming a solution for professional kitchens around the world (from the perspective of a serial entrepreneur that has turned early tech into big market $$).

In short, this new application of fab@home has the potential to put a professional pastry chef into every home at a very low cost (or DIY).

So why is this important?  

It’s not that you can make great pastries when times get tough.

That would be funny, but here’s the actual reason why.

No one person, or even a community, has the time to do all of the things or learn all of the skills required to replace a global production system.  This type of technology changes that.  It makes it possible to make things locally that used to require a team of experts or a multi-million dollar factory.

Think about that for a moment.  It’s important.

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