God bless venture capital and crazy vending machine ideas. These are the areas where we need our best people if we are to excel as a society. The two have combined for what sounds like a winner: on-demand ice cream.
The New York Times reports that MooBella, the makers of a vending machine that creates made-to-order ice cream, have just received $18 million in funding for a test roll-out of 100 machines. The system takes room temperature ingredients, flash freezes them via liquid nitrogen (hello semi-practical application of molecular gastronomy), and kicks out ice cream in under a minute.
The company, based out of Taunton, Massachusetts, brings together ice cream flavor developers with engineers, in order to make sure you have a touch screen for ordering a freshly made ice cream with your choice of mix-ins from a machine. The technical details of how it works are here, but the average person should be happy to know that the system can produce any one of 96 flavors in 45 seconds.
The machines have been tested for the past two years at "two secret locations." Although for a time that was the food court at Boston University.
MooBella doesn't consider the Ice Creamery System a vending machine, but instead calls it "an ice cream shop on wheels." The machines don't accept credit cards or cash and require an attendant in a food court or cafeteria to process the transactions. According to its Web site, the company apparently plans to expand outside of New England in the second half of this year.
[Image via Flickr: marionare]