A couple of quickies to start your day — and lovely pictures that will make you want to eat dessert first!

3D Systems announced yesterday that it has acquired a start-up that prints customized, multi-dimensional, edible confections from real sugar. The Sugar Lab came up with a way to use color jet printing with flavored, edible binders to make complicated cake toppers for weddings and other events — though it looks like it could make almost anything a food designer can come up with.

Sugar Lab cofounder Liz von Hasseln said in a press release, “We see our technology quickly evolving into a variety of flavors and foods, powered by real food printers for professionals and consumers alike” and, indeed, 3D Systems says it plans to “immediately integrate The Sugar Lab 3D printing technique into its professional and consumer content-to-print platforms with a variety of production-quality applications as well as the ability to 3D print indulgences at home”.

The terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Yum.

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Geometric Americas invested in Anark  to expand global sales and marketing of Anark Core MBEWeb, which is based on Geometric’s Glovius, a customizable viewer application that enables downstream users to view 3D data. The companies plan to develop a product roadmap targeting users in manufacturing, inspection and purchasing within the aerospace, defense, automotive and industrial sectors. Details of the investment were not made public.

Finally, a tip of the hat to PTC’s Nancy Pardo, who blogged about futurist Sheryl Connelly’s take on the automotive industry of the future. Ms. Connelly is Ford Motor Company’s “in-house futurist, studying how social, technological, economic, environmental and political trends impact how we’ll be living as far out as 2050.” Some of the trends are what we’re hearing everywhere –population explosion leads to catastrophic infrastructure failures in some parts of the world, while declining birth rates elsewhere cause a whole other set of issues– but the automotive-specific ones are fascinating. Did you know that it’s likely that the cars of the future will help our aging population by compensating for “reduced response time, impaired vision and limited range of motion”? The implications for engineers are massive: human-in-the-loop processing, redesigned controls and interiors, perhaps new ways of entering and exiting a car, and who knows what else?

Ms. Pardo’s article is here and Ford’s 2013 trend report, Looking Further with Ford, is here. Both are worth reading while you eat the confection of your choice.

Image credit: The Sugar Lab