Ice Cream, You Scream

“I’m not an ice-cream guy,” says Jim Baxter, the technologist behind the design of the MooBella vending machine (www.moobella.com), which churns out a 4.5-ounce cup in 45 seconds. “But it’s fun to watch consumers at the machine. Before they touch a button they’re laughing. As they pick flavors and mix-ins they really laugh. When they get it they scream.”

Operating on an off-the-shelf Linux-based computer, MooBella’s fresh-on-the-spot system changes the blueprint of traditional ice-cream vending machines, which spit out months-old bars. When a consumer presses a button, air is injected into a liquid mix, which is then combined with the chosen flavoring and sprayed as a thin-film liquid onto the surface of a rotating freezing plate. Once frozen, the contents move to a scraping and forming area, where they are molded into a scoop and placed in a cup. “It’s an ice-cream processing plant in twelve square feet,” Baxter explains. It may be as close as you can get to churning it yourself.

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