Easter bunny may be close to extinction say University of Exeter students

Mar 20, 2008

Easter may never be the same again once production starts rolling on new machinery developed by engineering undergraduates.

Gone will be the traditional oval shaped eggs and Easter bunnies, replaced with completely personalised chocolate gifts.

The new process can produce a 3D object of any shape in chocolate from a computer design.

The project set out to push the boundaries of additive layer manufacturing (ALM) technology as chocolate is a particularly difficult material to work with. James Bulleid, project team leader said ‘chocolate exists in about six different forms, only one of which is nice to eat. We had to make sure that our end result still tasted as good as the original ingredient.

Exeter has substantial expertise in ALM as Mike Felstead, Research Fellow explained ‘ALM is an emerging technology, moving from the laboratory to the factory floor. We’re more used to researching metals and plastics for aerospace and Formula 1 applications, but we thought this would be an interesting challenge for the students.

One day ALM will be a major engineering manufacturing technique and by choosing something quirky like manufacturing bespoke chocolate we think we’ve got an excellent teaching demonstrator with its own commercial potential – you can send flowers anywhere from any florist, imagine being able to design a unique chocolate gift for production and delivery to a loved one far away!’

The team have secured a variety of sponsors from international heavy weights like Cadbury’s to Tiverton based HepcoMotion, manufacturers of linear motion products and Farnell, a specialist electronic component supplier.

It is hoped that once the prototype has had further development, the technology will be affordable enough to be sited in shops and available for individuals to use over the internet, making it possible to produce totally personalised chocolate items.

James Bulleid, concluded ‘we are all really excited about the possibilities for our innovation. Having Cadbury’s, Hepco and Farnell as sponsors have also given us access to fantastic resources which have really helped our development and the potential applications for the end product are infinite.’

Source: University of Exeter

Explore further: Construction begins 2016 for Hyperloop on five-mile stretch

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Study shows troubling rise in use of animals in experiments

3 hours ago

Despite industry claims of reduced animal use as well as federal laws and policies aimed at reducing the use of animals, the number of animals used in leading U.S. laboratories increased a staggering 73 percent from 1997 ...

NY surveying banks on cyber security defenses

5 hours ago

(AP)—New York financial regulators are considering tougher cyber security requirements for banks to mandate more complex computer sign-ins and certifications from the contractors of their cyber defenses, the state's top ...

Life-saving train design is rarely used

6 hours ago

(AP)—Nearly a decade ago, the U.S. secretary of transportation stood at the site of a horrendous commuter train crash near downtown Los Angeles and called for the adoption of a new train car design that ...

Climate change may flatten famed surfing waves

7 hours ago

On a summer day in 1885, three Hawaiian princes surfed at the mouth of the San Lorenzo River on crudely constructed boards made from coastal redwoods, bringing the sport to the North American mainland.

Recommended for you

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.