Tech company produces 3D-printed vitamin pills designed to replace conventional multivitamins

A variety of pills are shown.
A variety of pills are shown.

Credit: DEA/G. CIGOLINI/De Agostini/Getty Images

Credit: DEA/G. CIGOLINI/De Agostini/Getty Images

A California tech company is working to build a better multivitamin by using 3D printing technology to create all-in-one, extended-release vitamin and supplement pills.

San Francisco-based startup Multiply Labs has begun taking preorders for its "Multiply Pill," designed to deliver up to 12 different supplements, from vitamins to caffeine, in a single capsule. The Bay area's KPIX reported that the capsules, made out of pharmaceutical-grade polymer, have separate compartments for each supplement or mix of supplements.

The 3D printer builds each shell by stacking very thin layers of the polymer. The compartments are structured in various sizes and with walls of varying thickness, allowing them to release their contents at different times throughout the day.

"You just have to take it in the morning and that's all you need," Tiffany Kuo, Multiply Labs co-founder and head of marketing and operations, told KPIX.

Kuo and her three fellow Multiply Labs founders -- two engineers and two masters in business administration -- all hail from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Their goal, they told the news station, was to change the multivitamin game.

"For the first time, we actually allow people to customize their pills based upon their life," co-founder and project head Joe Wilson said.

Customers can order the Multiply Pill online, selecting the nutrients and supplements they want, the amount of each that will go in the pills and when they want each to be released in their systems.

That can be particularly useful for customers who choose to put a caffeine boost in their order, Digital Trends reported.

"With a regular caffeine pill, I can't guarantee it's going to give me the boost when I need it, because it's mass produced," co-founder Fred Parietti told Digital Trends. "But we can customize it."

According to Multiply Labs' website, the first pre-orders will ship in spring 2017. Early customers can participate in beta testing, which also allows them to offer their opinions and input about the product.