Jun.25, 2013

Kinder Surprise Eggs are pretty popular worldwide especially its Christmas & Easter holiday editions. Kinder Surprise hides tiny trinkets inside a delicious candy shell, constitute the single largest children's candy category in the world, with over a billion sold every year. However despite being available in Canada since 1975, Kinder Surprise Eggs are illegal in the United States, because confections with "non-nutritive objects" embedded in them are forbidden by Food and Drug Administration regulations.

Typically you have to crack open the candy shell to find out what kind of toy surprise is inside. But University of Swansea engineering doctoral student Laura North and her colleagues used an X-ray micro-CT scanner and a 3D printer to create a replica of the toy inside without breaking the egg.

North and her colleagues first scanned the egg with a micro-CT scanner, and then the CT images were processed in the computer and sent to a 3D printer to print out a plastic replica of the toy.

"It's a great way to look inside something non-destructively," North said.

A comic strip, entitled 'Project Surprise', explaining the wonders of X-ray scanning and 3D printing, demonstrated by printing a perfect replica of a Kinder Surprise toy but without cracking the egg, has won North the 2013 Research as Art competition hosted by the university.

(Credit: Laura North / University of Swansea)

Laura North's explanation, accompanying her winning image, is as follows:

"The comic strip depicts the process of using both non-destructive testing and rapid prototyping techniques to replicate a toy found in a Kinder Surprise chocolate egg. Each individual image captures a specific and important stage of Project Surprise; all of which are performed during day-to-day activities in the lab. The comic strip was designed to mirror the project, which began as a fun experiment for Easter, and also to allow the method to be accessible to a wider audience.

It may seem silly and insignificant to wish to replicate a toy from inside a Kinder Surprise without damaging the egg at all. However, the concept has many other exciting and broad applications. These range from collaborating with the Egyptology department in identifying and reproducing mummified snake remains, to the concept being utilised in modern medicine, with perfectly fitting joint replacements."

Laura North said, "Each individual image captures a stage of the project. The concept has many applications, from collaborating with Egyptology to identify mummified snake remains, to modern medicine, and perfectly-fitting joint replacements."

Watch below X-Ray CT (Computed Tomography) of a Kinder Egg. The scan was carried out on a Nikon XTH225. VGStudioMAX is used for the visualization and analysis of CT data.


Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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