Behold this weird blob from three London-based industrial design students. Called Ooho, this blob is actually a "strong, hygienic, biodegradable, and edible" replacement for traditional water bottles.
What is that? Created by "spherification," a technique of shaping liquids into spheres developed in 1946 and more recently repopularized by world-renowned Spanish chef Ferran Adriá of the famed elBulli restaurant, Ooho consists of a compound of brown algae and calcium chloride that forms a gel around a watery core.
Creators Rodrigo García González, Pierre Paslier and Guillaume Couche say that the Ooho could eventually replace traditional, plastic water bottles entirely (which go unrecycled 80% of the time) for just 2 cents a pop — especially after seeing how other products like WikiPearl have gone into commercial production. "The double membrane protects the inside hygienically, and makes it possible to put labels between the two layers without any adhesive," García told Co.exist.
While technically the gel is edible, it doesn't look very appetizing yet:
Image Credit: Co.exist
Here's how you make Ooho in a laboratory setting.
If it replaces water bottles, Ooho could be great for the environment. America's thirst for bottled water costs around 17 million barrels of oil a year for the bottles alone — and much more in transportation costs. The average American drinks 167 disposable bottles of water a year, but only recycles a paltry 38. Alternatives like reusable water bottles and filtering water at home can save hundreds of dollars a year.
Still, Ooho might be a little too complicated for most Americans to bother making at home, and it has some logistical challenges (how it's going to get into your mouth without getting water everywhere for one). Plus, transporting Ooho seems like it could be a pain, depending on how resilient the gel really is. Maybe you could poke it open with a straw?