Would You Rather Eat Cruz or Clinton? PancakeBot Can Make Both


Presidential candidates made from the PancakeBot pancake printer are on display at the International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago. Mary Beth Breckenridge/Akron Beacon Journal/TNS via Getty Images/HowStuffWorks
Presidential candidates made from the PancakeBot pancake printer are on display at the International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago. Mary Beth Breckenridge/Akron Beacon Journal/TNS via Getty Images/HowStuffWorks

You may be used to making stacks of round pancakes on Saturday mornings. But a new device lets you get high-tech by printing out pancakes in any shape. From the Eiffel Tower to palm trees to your beloved dog's face, the PancakeBot comes complete with griddle and will make you an artist-chef in your own home.

Here are some Instagram-worthy creations:

The bot comes with software that allows you to trace any design – from simple to elaborate – on your computer. (Or you can use one of PancakeBot's designs.) Then, load the memory card into the bot; the machine uses the pancake batter as its ink to print out your breakfast. In about three to four minutes, you'll have a pancake shaped like a ship, a car, flowers or your best friend. Add a little bit of food coloring and you can have a stack of cakes that match your décor.

PancakeBot inventor, Miguel Valenzuela, a civil engineer who lives in Norway, credits his daughters with the machine's creation, after they saw him reading an article in Make magazine. "I told [my daughter Lily] I was reading about a guy named Adrian Marshall that made a pancake stamping machine out of Lego," Valenzuela says in an email. "Lily's eyes got real big with excitement, and she turned to her sister Maia and yelled, 'Papa's going to make a pancake machine out of Lego!'"

And, indeed, the first PancakeBot was made out of Legos, but it's now made of acrylic. The world's first pancake printer made it into stores late last year following a successful Kickstarter campaign and selection by StoreBound, a company that helps inventors bring their products to market. The process from idea to market took five-and-a-half years, Valenzuela reports.

PancakeBot show inventor Miguel Valenzuela demonstrates the pancake printer while holding his 5-month-old daughter, Charlotte, at the International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago, March 2016.
PancakeBot show inventor Miguel Valenzuela demonstrates the pancake printer while holding his 5-month-old daughter, Charlotte, at the International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago, March 2016.
Mary Beth Breckenridge/Akron Beacon Journal/TNS via Getty Images

At $299, the PancakeBot isn't for every pancake lover, but the product is getting a lot of notice, he says. "We've only started, so it's hard to gauge [the business], but from the coverage we've received, along with the positive feedback, we hope this is just the beginning."

PancakeBot may be the first device to both print and cook, but food printers are poised to change the way we prepare all kinds of food, from cake decorations to chocolates to pizza. NASA's even getting into the act as it explores ways to make meals more nutritious and delicious on extended trips into space.

Valenzuela too is looking into other methods of food printing and processing. "We want to make sure that people understand that PancakeBot is not just about pancakes; it's about expanding your horizons and looking at technology in a different way," he says. "It's also a way to inspire people to take an objective look at food and create a personal experience."