Plastic water bottle waste is certainly a pressing environmental issue, even with people using reusable bottles. A team of inventors from London think they may have a solution to that problem.
Known for inventing Hop!, the suitcase that followed its owner around, the team from London’s Imperial College has a new invention: Ooho. It’s a strange name, for an even stranger product.
Created using the culinary process of spherification, Ooho is essentially an edible water container. Through spherification, a gelatinous membrane is formed around a frozen liquid. It’s the same way faux caviar and bubble tea are made.
Dipping a chunk of ice into calcium chloride starts the spherification process. Next, the sphere goes into a solution of brown algae. The algae reinforce the sphere’s structure. By the time the water melts, it is secured in a clear pouch and can sit in the palm of your hand.
The project wasn’t originally started to find a new kind of water bottle. Instead, project leader Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez says he was working on a way to create an artificial cloud to evaporate sea water and transport it where needed.
The research done while working on artificial clouds led the team to the idea for an edible water bottle.
“When faced with the task of delivering water, we wanted to avoid plastic containers so we began to experiment with different ways to package water,” he told ABC News.
“After a lot of lateral thinking and experimentation, we started to play with the technique of spherification and found a potential way to solve the problem we had identified.”
Ooho isn’t available to purchase just yet. According to Gonzalez, he and his team are still working out how to reseal the pouch once it has been pierced. Also, not all of the testers have been crazy about the texture, some comparing it to breast implants or jellyfish.
However, if the texture doesn’t turn you off and you have knowledge of the culinary technique spherification, you can make your own Ooho-like product at home.