For several years now, designers and developers have been searching for an everyday practical application for 3D printing. Well everyone can stop now, because we’ve found the task this technology was created for.
Using a combination of CNC technology and tracking software, Bristol-based consultancy Kinneir Dufort has developed a process to create face-recognition pancakes. It’s flipping marvellous (sorry).
The consultancy had to batter away (sorry again) at the problem for some time, before they managed to perfect the system to dispense layers of pancake batter directly on to a hot-plate.
Apparently achieving the perfect result is “a delicate balance between batter viscosity, speed of application and maintaining the correct temperature on the plate”.
As the batter is applied to the plate it immediately starts to cook and change colours, and subsequent layers affect the tone of the image.
Kinneir Dufort senior electronic designer James Torbett says: The technology uses a digital camera combined with image-processing libraries to perform face-tracking and extraction.
“Our bespoke software turns this into contours for the batter dispenser. The darkest areas are deposited first, through four distinct shades to the lightest areas.”
The whole process takes around five minutes – as Kinneir Dufort prototyping director Ian Hollister says: “The real challenge was to create a program that enables the picture to be completed from start to finish within the exact timescale for the overall pancake to cook.
“Too little time and the darker tones wouldn’t be achieved, too long and the pancake would burn.”