The future of plastic bottles might very well be doomed, and a sleuth of improvements to our environment, our health, and our behaviors could be coming soon. The newly invented packaging, which perhaps someday will replace the gazillions of water bottles that fill our rubbish, comes straight from science fiction, or at least something not yet seen in our everyday lives.
Ooho! is a thin membrane made of eatable brown algae, akin to a gelatinous double layer. It's actually the water inside that gets transformed on its outer form by a culinary process known as spherification.
Let's see what Wikipedia says:
"Spherification is the culinary process of shaping a liquid into spheres which visually and texturally resemble caviar. The technique was originally discovered by Unilever in the 1950s and brought to the modernist cuisine by the creative team at El Bulli restaurant under the direction of executive Spanish chef Ferran Adria."
Creator Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez adds:
"Ooho! applies an evolved version of the spherification to one of the most basic and essential elements for life, the water. The clearest inspiration is the way nature encapsulates liquids using membranes. Made of lipids and proteins, the membrane encloses, limits and gives a shape, keeping the balance between the interior and the exterior -- as for example the egg yolk."
The cool invention is a double layer of edible algae, so one would actually eat and drink the capsule as a whole, as the process creates a jellification of the exterior of the liquid, a cheap, resistant and biodegradable packaging. Everyone will be able to make Ooho! in their kitchen, using the spherification process.
Ooho! is the brainchild of Spaniard Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez, trained as an architect, who created the concept and worked with two Frenchmen, Pierre Paslier and Guillaume Couche, both former packaging engineers for L'Oréal. Their invention won the Lexus Design Awards 2014 and will be presented to the World on April 8 in Italy, during the Milan Design Week.
The team is based in London, at the Department of Innovation Design Engineering -- Royal College of Art/Imperial College. After years of professional experience, they have decided to go back to school to try to learn from other fields of expertise.
If mass production comes calling, packaging labels could even be added to the water reservoir, in-between the two layers of gel, without adhesive, and could also be edible if made from rice paper, for example.
Garcia Gonzalez explains "The name of Ooho! came by the analogy with the spherical shape and also by the sound that some of the people that saw the concept for the first time did." And of course, O (eau) means water in French.
The three genius/inventors are giving their recipe away for free. Let's hope Bill Gates and water.org co-founder Matt Damon are reading this, as the solution to the world water supply possibly lies in this blob of water called Ooho!