May 19, 2014— -- Pancakes may be most ubiquitous as silver dollar-sized treats or stacked flapjacks, but some parents aspire to serve up something a little more creative: Mickey Mouse ears, letters spelling out 'Happy Birthday' or even a galloping horse.
All of these designs -- and even more complicated ones, such as the Eiffel Tower -- can now be cooked without fear of a shaky hand ruining breakfast.
Meet PancakeBot, a culinary printer that marries your imagination to the griddle.
"It was inspired by my daughters Lily and Maia," said Miguel Valenzuela, who lives with his family in Norway. "I was reading Make Magazine Volume 2 when Lily asked me what I was doing. I told her I was reading an article about a guy named Adrian Marshall who made a Pancake Stamping Machine out of LEGO. She immediately turned to her sister and said, 'Papa is going to build a pancake machine out of LEGO!'"
Not wanting to let down his 3-year-old daughter, Valenzuela took to tinkering for the next six months and developed a LEGO-based PancakeBot.
A video of the invention went viral online and inspired the family to bring it to the 2012 World Maker Faire in New York City, where it was well received.
But not all families, or foodies, want to build a kitchen tool out of toy blocks. So Valenzuela set about creating the next evolution of PancakeBot, made from "acrylic, stepper motors and an Arduino controller."
The new bot debuted at the Maker Faire in the Bay Area this past weekend and made stomachs rumble all over again.
"We are currently working on patent details for commercial versions and want to release an open hardware license for the Maker community," Valenzuela. "We also want to have these in class rooms and after school programs to help inspire kids and adults to create and make."
Valenzuela also told ABC News that he the machine is more than just a printer.
"It is the inspiration of a child and it's main aim is to inspire, motivate, and help others realize what their imaginations can come up with," he said. "I couldn't have done this without the support of my friends and Family, especially my wife Runi and daughters Lily and Maia."
And how do you garnish a creation that comes out of the PancakeBot?
"Canadian maple syrup with freshly picked wild blueberries," said Valenzuela. "We get lots of those in Norway."