The Cornucopia is MIT's proof that there is some goodness in this world after all. It's basically a 3-D food printer that, shockingly, prints food.
The premise is simple and very similar to your trusty inkjet printer. Instead of ink cartridges, the machine uses special food canisters filled with different raw ingredients. Then, you punch in the sort of food you want the printer to make from them, and it squirts them into desired layers and either cooks or cools the end result to perfection. The process is fully customizable: You can stuff the canisters with virtually any combination of ingredients you want and mix them in any way you like, down to customizing the temperature, calorie count and carbohydrate content. With preprogrammed recipes, the machine can fix you, say, lasagna for dinner and an ice cream cake for dessert. In mere minutes. With no more effort on your part than a push of the button.
And that's just one version of the printer MIT is dabbling with. See, the Cornucopia project isn't the name of a food printer. It's the name of a line of food printers, such as the Digital Chocolatier:
Didn't Bugs Bunny trap Rocky and Mugsy in one of these?
And the big-ass, sped-up version of the basic printer called the Virtuoso Mixer:
The robots are coming for you, Alton Brown.
Now, here's the bad news: Although several restaurants already have access to versions of the food printer, MIT doesn't have any plans yet to put this in your home.
However, Cornell University has created its own version of the Cornucopia called Fab@Home (terrible name!), with the full intent of bringing it to a store near you. The current version is actually already available online, for a measly sum of $3,300.
If you think your ink cartridges are expensive now ...