This blob is something you can eat and drink all in one go.

It's a water bottle called the Ooho. It's easy and cheap to make, strong, hygienic, biodegradable, and edible.

The container holds water in a double membrane using "spherification," the technique of shaping liquids into spheres first pioneered in labs in 1946 and more recently popularized by chefs at elBulli in Spain.

It works a little like an egg yolk, which also holds its shape using a thin membrane.

A compound made from brown algae and calcium chloride creates a gel around the water. “The double membrane protects the inside hygienically, and makes it possible to put labels between the two layers without any adhesive."

The Ooho can be made for just 2 cents.

2014-03-25

Co.Exist

This Edible Blob Is A Water Bottle Without The Plastic

Inspired by techniques from molecular gastronomy, the Ooho is a magical way to have your bottled water and eat it, too. Just maybe bring a towel.

One way to stop the ever-growing pile of plastic water bottles in landfills? Make a bottle people can eat.

Inspired by techniques from molecular gastronomy, three London-based industrial design students created Ooho, a blob-like water container that they say is easy and cheap to make, strong, hygienic, biodegradable, and edible.

The container holds water in a double membrane using "spherification," the technique of shaping liquids into spheres first pioneered in labs in 1946 and more recently popularized by chefs at elBulli in Spain. It works a little like an egg yolk, which also holds its shape using a thin membrane.

“We’re applying an evolved version of spherification to one of the most basic and essential elements of life--water,” says Rodrigo García González, who designed the Ooho with fellow design students Pierre Paslier and Guillaume Couche.

A compound made from brown algae and calcium chloride creates a gel around the water. “The double membrane protects the inside hygienically, and makes it possible to put labels between the two layers without any adhesive,” García explains.

While the package is being formed, the water is frozen as ice, making it possible to create a bigger sphere and keeping the ingredients in the membrane and out of the water.

Why not just drink from the tap? The designers wanted to address the fact that most people are drinking water in disposable bottles. “The reality is that more and more, when we drink water we throw away a plastic bottle,” García says. “Eighty percent of them are not recycled. This consumerism reflects the society in which we live.”

By rethinking the bottle, the designers say it’s also possible to reduce cost; for manufacturers, most of the cost of producing water comes from the bottle itself. The Ooho can be made for just two cents.

Like other edible packages, the Ooho seems to have a few challenges--like how the package stays clean before you drink from it and potentially eat it. But others have made it to market: the edible Wikipearl will be available at selected Whole Foods this month. The other problem, as you can see from the videos, is that you're going to get some water on your face, clothes, and the table. That's the sacrifice you make for getting rid of water bottles from your life.

Even if bottled water companies don't switch to Ooho, the designers say they hope people will try making the packages at home. "Anyone can make them in their kitchen, modifying and innovating the recipe," says García. "It's not DIY but CIY--cook it yourself."

The design was a winner of the second annual Lexus Design Award and will be on display during Milan Design Week.

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21 Comments

  • Bawler-Rolf Himmelhunden Oberlin

    Me and my study group are currently working on a project that reseambles this one, but insted we used starch, which we have found some problems with. Keep up the good work .

  • Lucy Betageek Hanouille

    How about we just stop using bottle water entirely? Instead of giving huge amounts of money to Nestle, who is bent on privatizing water, why not install filtered water stations in stores and have people refill reusable water bottles at a fraction of the cost?

  • Brilliant Product! How about a double layer (or multiple layers) like an onion so that the outer most layer can be pealed off and the inner layer remains clean and edible.

  • Sunho Lee

    this is kinda ver.1.0 but quite clearly this concept could revolutionize food sales, distribution, and storage, not just water. as a serious ultralight backpacker, i can see many immediate values to this...i mean you are saving weight, space, and minimizing garbage all at once...this is just a win-win idea. i look forward to seeing where this goes.

  • Kathyand Ryan Jopling

    until you can take it anywhere i see this technology dieing. just try and imagine using this product. where would you store it? how would you buy it? btw they talk about keeping the membrane clean until you use it. how? rapping it in plastic? then on top of that imagine eating it. not only do you get the experience of some foreign object "popping" in your mouth, like eating an eye ball or swallowing a load, but you also get the pleasure of chewing up what is essentially a used condom. neat idea but on a practical scale it wont work like they think.

  • Bự

    Well technically you don't have to eat the whole thing, the membranes are biodegradable, you can just toss it away. How will you drink it? Just make the drop into boob-shape and I'm sure you'll where to start. Besides, there are many solid containers that make from biodegradable material out there, have faith my friend. ;)

  • Kathyand Ryan Jopling

    until the membrane pops and it just goes everywhere. titties have a nice package, skin, that helps keep the milk from just hitting the floor.

  • Kelvin Kim

    This is a great idea. The problem of spilling water might be a matter of shape. In Nairobi, I can buy water, juice or soda packed in long, transparent polythene tubes either frozen or room temperature. Its quite easy to bite off a corner and suck the tube empty especially since they are packed in what one could call gulps; sometimes like a string of sausages where you can tear off bits. I would see this working great here.

  • Kathyand Ryan Jopling

    lets say you were doing something that involved you needing a drink. how many "sausage-waters" would you need to take along in order to make it worthwhile? then, how would you carry them with you? strung over your shoulder, in a small cooler, or in some other container? also there would be no real way to make them any other shape. once they thaw they will go back to being a sphere. and connecting them? this isnt plastic or polythene, its a membrane. flexible and something that needs to be done separately for each ball.

  • Kelvin Kim

    The beauty with strange problems is the prospect of solving them. If the exuberance with which I see young children and the young at heart enjoying these watery sausage treats is anything to go by, maybe there is a way. Sometimes the solutions lies beyond science to culture. If there was a serious look into the possibilities of making these things portable and indeed potable at the same time, then popularizing the solution would me a matter of inserting the behavior into pop culture. Have penny or Sheldon or one of a myriad of modern cultural icons deal with the problem and solve it on screen and presto: you have a new habit.

  • Antoine Fouster

    This is great, hope it catches on! Could this biodegradable membrane also be used to seal food to keep it fresh? Like a green saran wrap.