You really can 3D print anything: Ford’s edible chocolate car

For the first time a car that you can eat rather than drive has been made. Technically it is only one inch long but it’s still possible to eat the 3D printed chocolate Mustang that manufacturer Ford has created.

Ford teamed up with 3D Systems’ Sugar Lab from Los Angles, US, to produce the tiny treat from a full scale CAD version of the company’s newest car.

It may be a rather niche area, which undoubtedly will not be highly competitive, but after printing the chocolate models the partnership proudly stated that it was the world’s first 3D-printed car that can be eaten.

In terms of 3D printing food the chocolate car isn’t a revolutionary step forward but it does show the flexibility which is possible when printing food. The ability to print specific shapes will give food manufacturers with distinctive brands the option of being able to produce their products with ease, rather than having to use complex moulds.

Liz von Hasseln, the creative director at 3D Systems/The Sugar Lab who produced the edible model said it was a challenge to take it from the full CAD version of the car to a small piece of chocolate.

Explaining the printing process she says: “The printer uses an inkjet print head to very precisely paint water onto a dry sugar sub-strain where the model exists at the cross section, and then it spreads more sugar.

“It paints more water onto the sugar and the water recrystalises the sugar and allows it to harden.”

Once it has had time to harden the group then take out the entire production and clear away the excess sugar to reveal the model.

The company Sugar Lab company was created after Liz, together with her husband Kyle, 3D printed a birthday cake for a friend because they didn’t have an oven.

The print of the edible Mustang was made as a one-time special but Ford has said it is considering licensing the application in case it wanted to manufacture Mustang sweets in the future.

Ford already 3D print a large amount of parts and prototypes but the willingness of large companies to consider using 3D printing for food purposes does show some hope for the future of food manufacturing using the techniques.

Ford supervisor of 3D printing, Paul Susalla, said: “3D printing is one of the hottest buzzwords in the news today and it’s great to see more consumers learning about the technology and its applications.

“We wanted to create something fun to show that while 3D printing made these edible Mustangs, manufacturing-level 3D printing was used in the development of Ford’s all-new sports car.”


Video still courtesy of Ford.


Robot takes first steps towards building artificial lifeforms

A robot equipped with sophisticated AI has successfully simulated the creation of artificial lifeforms, in a key first step towards the eventual goal of creating true artificial life.

The robot, which was developed by scientists at the University of Glasgow, was able to model the creation of artificial lifeforms using unstable oil-in-water droplets. These droplets effectively played the role of living cells, demonstrating the potential of future research to develop living cells based on building blocks that cannot be found in nature.

Significantly, the robot also successfully predicted their properties before they were created, even though this could not be achieved using conventional physical models.

The robot, which was designed by Glasgow University’s Regius Chair of Chemistry, Professor Lee Cronin, is driven by machine learning and the principles of evolution.

It has been developed to autonomously create oil-in-water droplets with a host of different chemical makeups and then use image recognition to assess their behaviour.

Using this information, the robot was able to engineer droplets to have different properties­. Those which were found to be desirable could then be recreated at any time, using a specific digital code.

“This work is exciting as it shows that we are able to use machine learning and a novel robotic platform to understand the system in ways that cannot be done using conventional laboratory methods, including the discovery of ‘swarm’ like group behaviour of the droplets, akin to flocking birds,” said Cronin.

“Achieving lifelike behaviours such as this are important in our mission to make new lifeforms, and these droplets may be considered ‘protocells’ – simplified models of living cells.”

One of the oil droplets created by the robot

The research, which is published today in the journal PNAS, is one of several research projects being undertaken by Cronin and his team within the field of artificial lifeforms.

While the overarching goal is moving towards the creation of lifeforms using new and unprecedented building blocks, the research may also have more immediate potential applications.

The team believes that their work could also have applications in several practical areas, including the development of new methods for drug delivery or even innovative materials with functional properties.

Mac spyware stole millions of user images

A criminal case brought against a man from Ohio, US has shed more light on a piece of Mac malware, dubbed Fruitfly, that was used to surreptitiously turn on cameras and microphones, take and download screenshots, log keystrokes, and steal tax and medical records, photographs, internet searches, and bank transactions from users.

Source: Ars Technica

Drone swarm attack strikes Russian military bases

Russia's Ministry of Defence claims its forces in Syria were attacked a week ago by a swarm of home-made drones. According to Russia's MoD Russian forces at the Khmeimim air base and Tartus naval facility "successfully warded off a terrorist attack with massive application of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)"

Source: Science Alert

Las Vegas strip club employs robot strippers

A Las Vegas strip club has flown in robot strippers from London to 'perform' at the club during CES. Sapphire Las Vegas strip club managing partner Peter Feinstein said that he employed the robots because the demographics of CES have changed and the traditional female strippers aren’t enough to lure a crowd to the club anymore.

Source: Daily Beast

GM to make driverless cars without steering wheels or pedals by 2019

General Motors has announced it plans to mass-produce self-driving cars without traditional controls like steering wheels and pedals by 2019. “It’s a pretty exciting moment in the history of the path to wide scale [autonomous vehicle] deployment and having the first production car with no driver controls,” GM President Dan Ammann told The Verge.

Source: The Verge

Russia-linked hackers "Fancy Bears" target the IOC

Following Russia's ban from the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics, the Russia-linked hacking group "Fancy Bears" has published a set of apparently stolen emails, which purportedly belong to officials from the International Olympic Committee, the United States Olympic Committee, and third-party groups associated with the organisations.

Source: Wired

Scientists discover ice cliffs on Mars

Using images provided by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, scientists have described how steep cliffs, up to 100 meters tall, made of what appears to be nearly pure ice indicate that large deposits of ice may also be located in nearby underground deposits. The discovery has been described as “very exciting” for potential human bases.

Source: Science Mag