New York University graduate student Marko Manriquez developed a hell of a thesis project for the school’s ITP program: A 3-D printer that assembles made-to-order burritos via a custom iPhone app. The project, dubbed Burritobot, is more than just a stunt novelty–it’s a sneak peak at the future of fast food.
The Burritobot exists at the fringes of 3-D printing. Unlike some 3-D printers which extrude layer upon layer of plastics (or other materials) to create a three dimensional object, the Burritobot extrudes customizable amounts of Mexican ingredients onto a pre-made tortilla to a user’s taste. A carousel contains caulking gun-like canisters of black beans, pinto beans, cheese, pico de gallo, cream, mild salsa, and hot salsa with the dispensers controlled via iOS app or a Ruby-based web app. The user then plays with sliding scales embedded in the app that allows them to calibrate the exact amount of each ingredient on the burrito.
Manriquez currently has the Burritobot in prototype mode. An early version of the burrito printer debuted at the ITP Spring Show. According to Manriquez, a variety of inspirations fueled the Burritobot–from Taco Bell, all the way to Hot Pockets:
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