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3D Printing Pancake Robots Invade Home Kitchens

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Now you can make Guy Fieri-shaped pancakes in the privacy of your own home

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The 3D printing pancake robot of your dreams is now on the market. PancakeBot retails for a cool $299.98 on Amazon which, admittedly, is a lot pricier than a skillet — but can a traditional skillet cook up a pancake breakfast in the shape of Steve Wozniak's head?

The device works by dispensing batter directly onto a griddle in a shape of the user's choosing, essentially drawing intricate designs atop a hot griddle. The PancakeBot can even create shadows and tones to create a more realistic image of, say, President Obama. Last year the pancake printer raised more than $460,000 on Kickstarter; its initial goal was a mere $50,000.

So far reviews are mixed, with one Amazon reviewer citing "critical design flaws" that make the device difficult to use. Batter, for instance, can't have any lumps as even the smallest "will cause a block and stop all functionality." Another issue cited by the reviewer: The PancakeBot works best if the user is a talented artist. "You have to draw whatever you want to design!!!!" she writes. "I can't tell you how terrible this is when you're expecting a plug and play item. There is no trace software. You have to trace whatever it is you're doing yourself."

InventorSpot notes, however, that the PancakeBot's SD card can be loaded with any designs, so users can create their own designs or "browse through the online designs."

A restaurant in Japan is already light years ahead of the trend, turning out dozens of pancakes hand-drawn into the shapes of iconic characters like Darth Vader, Mario, and even Guy Fieri. Thanks to Prime shipping, even those with limited artistic ability can theoretically be churning out pancakes that look like Anthony Bourdain and Julia Child just 48 hours from now. What a world.