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Are You Eating Algae?

Are You Eating Algae?

New innovations in food technology mean algae could be a fat substitute

Would you believe your fat-free ice cream contains algae? Or your beer? Better believe it — new developments in food technology may put the pond scum right into your food.

Don't fret, though — it's not as gross as you think. In fact, GOOD reports that the scum is being developed as a fat substitute — one that still has flavor, minus the fat. And not just any fat, the kind of healthy fats similar to those found in olive oil. Naturally, food chemists found this to be exciting — and a possible fat substitute.

Now, scientists are working on a product called "Algamine," a powder substance to be used like butter or margarine. Writes Sarah Zhang, you can use it in a chocolate chip cookie recipe and get 40 percent less fat and cholesterol. The best part? Algamine doesn't taste like typical fat-free fare, a big win for chemists and health-conscious diners alike.

The real test will be if it catches on with consumers. But the truth is, we already consume algae in products using carrageenans, like beer, ice cream, and soy milk. Some companies, like Solazyme, are beginning to test different products, like algalin flour, to be used in cookies and cakes. Plus, as Seeking Alpha reports, the flour is natural, vegan, gluten-free, and non-allergenic — a likely catchphrase that could turn consumers into algae lovers.


Here’s A Water Bottle You Can Actually Eat

Two years ago, design student Rodrigo García González made a name for himself when he invented "Hop!," a suitcase prototype that conveniently follows its owner.

Related Content

His latest idea, the edible "Ooho" water bottle, is simpler on the surface but goes after one of the world's most troubling environmental threats: plastic pollution (a problem much more serious than lost luggage).  

In an ideal world, Ooho would replace the 50 billion plastic bottles that Americans consume each year. At last count, about 1.5 million barrels of crude oil are tapped annually to manufacture plastic bottles, according to a 2007 resolution by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. After they're thrown away, these containers often end up polluting the ocean, where there are roughly over 46,000 pieces of floating plastic trash for every square mile, according to a report by the United Nations.  

Instead of creating a bottle and then filling it with water, González, along with fellow Imperial College London students Pierre Paslier and Guillaume Couche, used a process that allows the bottle to take shape as it coalesces around the liquid. 

González and his team first took a frozen ball of water and dipped it into a calcium chloride solution, which formed a gelatinous layer. Then, the ball soaked in another solution made from brown algae extract, which encapsulated the ice in a second squishy membrane to reinforce the structure. Keeping the water in the algae solution for long periods of time allows the mold to become thicker and stronger.

"The main point in manipulating the water as solid ice during the encapsulation is to make it possible to get bigger spheres and allow the calcium and algae to stay exclusively in the membrane," González says.

The method is adapted from a culinary technique known as spherification. Pioneered in the 1950s by Unilever and popularized by legendary Spanish chef Ferran Adrià, the process has since been used to whip up gastronomic delights such as fake caviar and the juice-filled pearls often added to bubble tea drinks.

But no one had thought to apply it to encase large amounts of water. González's team has since gone through thousands of prototypes, testing them in Spain, Italy and Britain. Last summer, the designers tested a few versions of the product on the streets of Spain for a local television program. 

What do the bottles taste like? Not much, González says, though "the jelly texture around [the bottles] is something we are not used to . yet."

"Not all of the reactions were positive," González says. "Some people say that [the bottles] are like breast implants or jellyfish."

Even with the Ooho's fortified layers, González describes the container's strength as comparable to the skin found on fruit.

"This is a problem we're trying to address with a double container," he says. "The idea is that we can pack several individual edible Oohos into a bigger Ooho container [to make] a thicker and more resistant membrane."

Other challenges include figuring out how to make the bottle re-sealable while keeping the "tasteless" skin sanitary enough for consumers to eat.  Yogurt maker Stonyfield recently rolled out an entire line of yogurt products wrapped in a flavored coating called Wikipearls, made from a mix of natural food particles, which are now available at select Whole Foods locations throughout Massachusetts.  The edible balls of yogurt are sold with the protection of a sealed plastic bag how exactly the Ooho would be packaged on shelves is something developers will determine when the product is rolled out to consumers.

"There's still a lot things with the engineering of the membrane that we need to improve," González says. 

González says a few food and beverage companies have reached out to him to discuss collaborating on the technology further. In the meantime, the project is moving forward under a creative commons license, which means the recipe for Ooho water bottles will be made available online, and soon, if you have two hours and two cents to spare, you could make a bottle in your own kitchen.


Here’s A Water Bottle You Can Actually Eat

Two years ago, design student Rodrigo García González made a name for himself when he invented "Hop!," a suitcase prototype that conveniently follows its owner.

Related Content

His latest idea, the edible "Ooho" water bottle, is simpler on the surface but goes after one of the world's most troubling environmental threats: plastic pollution (a problem much more serious than lost luggage).  

In an ideal world, Ooho would replace the 50 billion plastic bottles that Americans consume each year. At last count, about 1.5 million barrels of crude oil are tapped annually to manufacture plastic bottles, according to a 2007 resolution by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. After they're thrown away, these containers often end up polluting the ocean, where there are roughly over 46,000 pieces of floating plastic trash for every square mile, according to a report by the United Nations.  

Instead of creating a bottle and then filling it with water, González, along with fellow Imperial College London students Pierre Paslier and Guillaume Couche, used a process that allows the bottle to take shape as it coalesces around the liquid. 

González and his team first took a frozen ball of water and dipped it into a calcium chloride solution, which formed a gelatinous layer. Then, the ball soaked in another solution made from brown algae extract, which encapsulated the ice in a second squishy membrane to reinforce the structure. Keeping the water in the algae solution for long periods of time allows the mold to become thicker and stronger.

"The main point in manipulating the water as solid ice during the encapsulation is to make it possible to get bigger spheres and allow the calcium and algae to stay exclusively in the membrane," González says.

The method is adapted from a culinary technique known as spherification. Pioneered in the 1950s by Unilever and popularized by legendary Spanish chef Ferran Adrià, the process has since been used to whip up gastronomic delights such as fake caviar and the juice-filled pearls often added to bubble tea drinks.

But no one had thought to apply it to encase large amounts of water. González's team has since gone through thousands of prototypes, testing them in Spain, Italy and Britain. Last summer, the designers tested a few versions of the product on the streets of Spain for a local television program. 

What do the bottles taste like? Not much, González says, though "the jelly texture around [the bottles] is something we are not used to . yet."

"Not all of the reactions were positive," González says. "Some people say that [the bottles] are like breast implants or jellyfish."

Even with the Ooho's fortified layers, González describes the container's strength as comparable to the skin found on fruit.

"This is a problem we're trying to address with a double container," he says. "The idea is that we can pack several individual edible Oohos into a bigger Ooho container [to make] a thicker and more resistant membrane."

Other challenges include figuring out how to make the bottle re-sealable while keeping the "tasteless" skin sanitary enough for consumers to eat.  Yogurt maker Stonyfield recently rolled out an entire line of yogurt products wrapped in a flavored coating called Wikipearls, made from a mix of natural food particles, which are now available at select Whole Foods locations throughout Massachusetts.  The edible balls of yogurt are sold with the protection of a sealed plastic bag how exactly the Ooho would be packaged on shelves is something developers will determine when the product is rolled out to consumers.

"There's still a lot things with the engineering of the membrane that we need to improve," González says. 

González says a few food and beverage companies have reached out to him to discuss collaborating on the technology further. In the meantime, the project is moving forward under a creative commons license, which means the recipe for Ooho water bottles will be made available online, and soon, if you have two hours and two cents to spare, you could make a bottle in your own kitchen.


Here’s A Water Bottle You Can Actually Eat

Two years ago, design student Rodrigo García González made a name for himself when he invented "Hop!," a suitcase prototype that conveniently follows its owner.

Related Content

His latest idea, the edible "Ooho" water bottle, is simpler on the surface but goes after one of the world's most troubling environmental threats: plastic pollution (a problem much more serious than lost luggage).  

In an ideal world, Ooho would replace the 50 billion plastic bottles that Americans consume each year. At last count, about 1.5 million barrels of crude oil are tapped annually to manufacture plastic bottles, according to a 2007 resolution by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. After they're thrown away, these containers often end up polluting the ocean, where there are roughly over 46,000 pieces of floating plastic trash for every square mile, according to a report by the United Nations.  

Instead of creating a bottle and then filling it with water, González, along with fellow Imperial College London students Pierre Paslier and Guillaume Couche, used a process that allows the bottle to take shape as it coalesces around the liquid. 

González and his team first took a frozen ball of water and dipped it into a calcium chloride solution, which formed a gelatinous layer. Then, the ball soaked in another solution made from brown algae extract, which encapsulated the ice in a second squishy membrane to reinforce the structure. Keeping the water in the algae solution for long periods of time allows the mold to become thicker and stronger.

"The main point in manipulating the water as solid ice during the encapsulation is to make it possible to get bigger spheres and allow the calcium and algae to stay exclusively in the membrane," González says.

The method is adapted from a culinary technique known as spherification. Pioneered in the 1950s by Unilever and popularized by legendary Spanish chef Ferran Adrià, the process has since been used to whip up gastronomic delights such as fake caviar and the juice-filled pearls often added to bubble tea drinks.

But no one had thought to apply it to encase large amounts of water. González's team has since gone through thousands of prototypes, testing them in Spain, Italy and Britain. Last summer, the designers tested a few versions of the product on the streets of Spain for a local television program. 

What do the bottles taste like? Not much, González says, though "the jelly texture around [the bottles] is something we are not used to . yet."

"Not all of the reactions were positive," González says. "Some people say that [the bottles] are like breast implants or jellyfish."

Even with the Ooho's fortified layers, González describes the container's strength as comparable to the skin found on fruit.

"This is a problem we're trying to address with a double container," he says. "The idea is that we can pack several individual edible Oohos into a bigger Ooho container [to make] a thicker and more resistant membrane."

Other challenges include figuring out how to make the bottle re-sealable while keeping the "tasteless" skin sanitary enough for consumers to eat.  Yogurt maker Stonyfield recently rolled out an entire line of yogurt products wrapped in a flavored coating called Wikipearls, made from a mix of natural food particles, which are now available at select Whole Foods locations throughout Massachusetts.  The edible balls of yogurt are sold with the protection of a sealed plastic bag how exactly the Ooho would be packaged on shelves is something developers will determine when the product is rolled out to consumers.

"There's still a lot things with the engineering of the membrane that we need to improve," González says. 

González says a few food and beverage companies have reached out to him to discuss collaborating on the technology further. In the meantime, the project is moving forward under a creative commons license, which means the recipe for Ooho water bottles will be made available online, and soon, if you have two hours and two cents to spare, you could make a bottle in your own kitchen.


Here’s A Water Bottle You Can Actually Eat

Two years ago, design student Rodrigo García González made a name for himself when he invented "Hop!," a suitcase prototype that conveniently follows its owner.

Related Content

His latest idea, the edible "Ooho" water bottle, is simpler on the surface but goes after one of the world's most troubling environmental threats: plastic pollution (a problem much more serious than lost luggage).  

In an ideal world, Ooho would replace the 50 billion plastic bottles that Americans consume each year. At last count, about 1.5 million barrels of crude oil are tapped annually to manufacture plastic bottles, according to a 2007 resolution by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. After they're thrown away, these containers often end up polluting the ocean, where there are roughly over 46,000 pieces of floating plastic trash for every square mile, according to a report by the United Nations.  

Instead of creating a bottle and then filling it with water, González, along with fellow Imperial College London students Pierre Paslier and Guillaume Couche, used a process that allows the bottle to take shape as it coalesces around the liquid. 

González and his team first took a frozen ball of water and dipped it into a calcium chloride solution, which formed a gelatinous layer. Then, the ball soaked in another solution made from brown algae extract, which encapsulated the ice in a second squishy membrane to reinforce the structure. Keeping the water in the algae solution for long periods of time allows the mold to become thicker and stronger.

"The main point in manipulating the water as solid ice during the encapsulation is to make it possible to get bigger spheres and allow the calcium and algae to stay exclusively in the membrane," González says.

The method is adapted from a culinary technique known as spherification. Pioneered in the 1950s by Unilever and popularized by legendary Spanish chef Ferran Adrià, the process has since been used to whip up gastronomic delights such as fake caviar and the juice-filled pearls often added to bubble tea drinks.

But no one had thought to apply it to encase large amounts of water. González's team has since gone through thousands of prototypes, testing them in Spain, Italy and Britain. Last summer, the designers tested a few versions of the product on the streets of Spain for a local television program. 

What do the bottles taste like? Not much, González says, though "the jelly texture around [the bottles] is something we are not used to . yet."

"Not all of the reactions were positive," González says. "Some people say that [the bottles] are like breast implants or jellyfish."

Even with the Ooho's fortified layers, González describes the container's strength as comparable to the skin found on fruit.

"This is a problem we're trying to address with a double container," he says. "The idea is that we can pack several individual edible Oohos into a bigger Ooho container [to make] a thicker and more resistant membrane."

Other challenges include figuring out how to make the bottle re-sealable while keeping the "tasteless" skin sanitary enough for consumers to eat.  Yogurt maker Stonyfield recently rolled out an entire line of yogurt products wrapped in a flavored coating called Wikipearls, made from a mix of natural food particles, which are now available at select Whole Foods locations throughout Massachusetts.  The edible balls of yogurt are sold with the protection of a sealed plastic bag how exactly the Ooho would be packaged on shelves is something developers will determine when the product is rolled out to consumers.

"There's still a lot things with the engineering of the membrane that we need to improve," González says. 

González says a few food and beverage companies have reached out to him to discuss collaborating on the technology further. In the meantime, the project is moving forward under a creative commons license, which means the recipe for Ooho water bottles will be made available online, and soon, if you have two hours and two cents to spare, you could make a bottle in your own kitchen.


Here’s A Water Bottle You Can Actually Eat

Two years ago, design student Rodrigo García González made a name for himself when he invented "Hop!," a suitcase prototype that conveniently follows its owner.

Related Content

His latest idea, the edible "Ooho" water bottle, is simpler on the surface but goes after one of the world's most troubling environmental threats: plastic pollution (a problem much more serious than lost luggage).  

In an ideal world, Ooho would replace the 50 billion plastic bottles that Americans consume each year. At last count, about 1.5 million barrels of crude oil are tapped annually to manufacture plastic bottles, according to a 2007 resolution by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. After they're thrown away, these containers often end up polluting the ocean, where there are roughly over 46,000 pieces of floating plastic trash for every square mile, according to a report by the United Nations.  

Instead of creating a bottle and then filling it with water, González, along with fellow Imperial College London students Pierre Paslier and Guillaume Couche, used a process that allows the bottle to take shape as it coalesces around the liquid. 

González and his team first took a frozen ball of water and dipped it into a calcium chloride solution, which formed a gelatinous layer. Then, the ball soaked in another solution made from brown algae extract, which encapsulated the ice in a second squishy membrane to reinforce the structure. Keeping the water in the algae solution for long periods of time allows the mold to become thicker and stronger.

"The main point in manipulating the water as solid ice during the encapsulation is to make it possible to get bigger spheres and allow the calcium and algae to stay exclusively in the membrane," González says.

The method is adapted from a culinary technique known as spherification. Pioneered in the 1950s by Unilever and popularized by legendary Spanish chef Ferran Adrià, the process has since been used to whip up gastronomic delights such as fake caviar and the juice-filled pearls often added to bubble tea drinks.

But no one had thought to apply it to encase large amounts of water. González's team has since gone through thousands of prototypes, testing them in Spain, Italy and Britain. Last summer, the designers tested a few versions of the product on the streets of Spain for a local television program. 

What do the bottles taste like? Not much, González says, though "the jelly texture around [the bottles] is something we are not used to . yet."

"Not all of the reactions were positive," González says. "Some people say that [the bottles] are like breast implants or jellyfish."

Even with the Ooho's fortified layers, González describes the container's strength as comparable to the skin found on fruit.

"This is a problem we're trying to address with a double container," he says. "The idea is that we can pack several individual edible Oohos into a bigger Ooho container [to make] a thicker and more resistant membrane."

Other challenges include figuring out how to make the bottle re-sealable while keeping the "tasteless" skin sanitary enough for consumers to eat.  Yogurt maker Stonyfield recently rolled out an entire line of yogurt products wrapped in a flavored coating called Wikipearls, made from a mix of natural food particles, which are now available at select Whole Foods locations throughout Massachusetts.  The edible balls of yogurt are sold with the protection of a sealed plastic bag how exactly the Ooho would be packaged on shelves is something developers will determine when the product is rolled out to consumers.

"There's still a lot things with the engineering of the membrane that we need to improve," González says. 

González says a few food and beverage companies have reached out to him to discuss collaborating on the technology further. In the meantime, the project is moving forward under a creative commons license, which means the recipe for Ooho water bottles will be made available online, and soon, if you have two hours and two cents to spare, you could make a bottle in your own kitchen.


Here’s A Water Bottle You Can Actually Eat

Two years ago, design student Rodrigo García González made a name for himself when he invented "Hop!," a suitcase prototype that conveniently follows its owner.

Related Content

His latest idea, the edible "Ooho" water bottle, is simpler on the surface but goes after one of the world's most troubling environmental threats: plastic pollution (a problem much more serious than lost luggage).  

In an ideal world, Ooho would replace the 50 billion plastic bottles that Americans consume each year. At last count, about 1.5 million barrels of crude oil are tapped annually to manufacture plastic bottles, according to a 2007 resolution by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. After they're thrown away, these containers often end up polluting the ocean, where there are roughly over 46,000 pieces of floating plastic trash for every square mile, according to a report by the United Nations.  

Instead of creating a bottle and then filling it with water, González, along with fellow Imperial College London students Pierre Paslier and Guillaume Couche, used a process that allows the bottle to take shape as it coalesces around the liquid. 

González and his team first took a frozen ball of water and dipped it into a calcium chloride solution, which formed a gelatinous layer. Then, the ball soaked in another solution made from brown algae extract, which encapsulated the ice in a second squishy membrane to reinforce the structure. Keeping the water in the algae solution for long periods of time allows the mold to become thicker and stronger.

"The main point in manipulating the water as solid ice during the encapsulation is to make it possible to get bigger spheres and allow the calcium and algae to stay exclusively in the membrane," González says.

The method is adapted from a culinary technique known as spherification. Pioneered in the 1950s by Unilever and popularized by legendary Spanish chef Ferran Adrià, the process has since been used to whip up gastronomic delights such as fake caviar and the juice-filled pearls often added to bubble tea drinks.

But no one had thought to apply it to encase large amounts of water. González's team has since gone through thousands of prototypes, testing them in Spain, Italy and Britain. Last summer, the designers tested a few versions of the product on the streets of Spain for a local television program. 

What do the bottles taste like? Not much, González says, though "the jelly texture around [the bottles] is something we are not used to . yet."

"Not all of the reactions were positive," González says. "Some people say that [the bottles] are like breast implants or jellyfish."

Even with the Ooho's fortified layers, González describes the container's strength as comparable to the skin found on fruit.

"This is a problem we're trying to address with a double container," he says. "The idea is that we can pack several individual edible Oohos into a bigger Ooho container [to make] a thicker and more resistant membrane."

Other challenges include figuring out how to make the bottle re-sealable while keeping the "tasteless" skin sanitary enough for consumers to eat.  Yogurt maker Stonyfield recently rolled out an entire line of yogurt products wrapped in a flavored coating called Wikipearls, made from a mix of natural food particles, which are now available at select Whole Foods locations throughout Massachusetts.  The edible balls of yogurt are sold with the protection of a sealed plastic bag how exactly the Ooho would be packaged on shelves is something developers will determine when the product is rolled out to consumers.

"There's still a lot things with the engineering of the membrane that we need to improve," González says. 

González says a few food and beverage companies have reached out to him to discuss collaborating on the technology further. In the meantime, the project is moving forward under a creative commons license, which means the recipe for Ooho water bottles will be made available online, and soon, if you have two hours and two cents to spare, you could make a bottle in your own kitchen.


Here’s A Water Bottle You Can Actually Eat

Two years ago, design student Rodrigo García González made a name for himself when he invented "Hop!," a suitcase prototype that conveniently follows its owner.

Related Content

His latest idea, the edible "Ooho" water bottle, is simpler on the surface but goes after one of the world's most troubling environmental threats: plastic pollution (a problem much more serious than lost luggage).  

In an ideal world, Ooho would replace the 50 billion plastic bottles that Americans consume each year. At last count, about 1.5 million barrels of crude oil are tapped annually to manufacture plastic bottles, according to a 2007 resolution by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. After they're thrown away, these containers often end up polluting the ocean, where there are roughly over 46,000 pieces of floating plastic trash for every square mile, according to a report by the United Nations.  

Instead of creating a bottle and then filling it with water, González, along with fellow Imperial College London students Pierre Paslier and Guillaume Couche, used a process that allows the bottle to take shape as it coalesces around the liquid. 

González and his team first took a frozen ball of water and dipped it into a calcium chloride solution, which formed a gelatinous layer. Then, the ball soaked in another solution made from brown algae extract, which encapsulated the ice in a second squishy membrane to reinforce the structure. Keeping the water in the algae solution for long periods of time allows the mold to become thicker and stronger.

"The main point in manipulating the water as solid ice during the encapsulation is to make it possible to get bigger spheres and allow the calcium and algae to stay exclusively in the membrane," González says.

The method is adapted from a culinary technique known as spherification. Pioneered in the 1950s by Unilever and popularized by legendary Spanish chef Ferran Adrià, the process has since been used to whip up gastronomic delights such as fake caviar and the juice-filled pearls often added to bubble tea drinks.

But no one had thought to apply it to encase large amounts of water. González's team has since gone through thousands of prototypes, testing them in Spain, Italy and Britain. Last summer, the designers tested a few versions of the product on the streets of Spain for a local television program. 

What do the bottles taste like? Not much, González says, though "the jelly texture around [the bottles] is something we are not used to . yet."

"Not all of the reactions were positive," González says. "Some people say that [the bottles] are like breast implants or jellyfish."

Even with the Ooho's fortified layers, González describes the container's strength as comparable to the skin found on fruit.

"This is a problem we're trying to address with a double container," he says. "The idea is that we can pack several individual edible Oohos into a bigger Ooho container [to make] a thicker and more resistant membrane."

Other challenges include figuring out how to make the bottle re-sealable while keeping the "tasteless" skin sanitary enough for consumers to eat.  Yogurt maker Stonyfield recently rolled out an entire line of yogurt products wrapped in a flavored coating called Wikipearls, made from a mix of natural food particles, which are now available at select Whole Foods locations throughout Massachusetts.  The edible balls of yogurt are sold with the protection of a sealed plastic bag how exactly the Ooho would be packaged on shelves is something developers will determine when the product is rolled out to consumers.

"There's still a lot things with the engineering of the membrane that we need to improve," González says. 

González says a few food and beverage companies have reached out to him to discuss collaborating on the technology further. In the meantime, the project is moving forward under a creative commons license, which means the recipe for Ooho water bottles will be made available online, and soon, if you have two hours and two cents to spare, you could make a bottle in your own kitchen.


Here’s A Water Bottle You Can Actually Eat

Two years ago, design student Rodrigo García González made a name for himself when he invented "Hop!," a suitcase prototype that conveniently follows its owner.

Related Content

His latest idea, the edible "Ooho" water bottle, is simpler on the surface but goes after one of the world's most troubling environmental threats: plastic pollution (a problem much more serious than lost luggage).  

In an ideal world, Ooho would replace the 50 billion plastic bottles that Americans consume each year. At last count, about 1.5 million barrels of crude oil are tapped annually to manufacture plastic bottles, according to a 2007 resolution by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. After they're thrown away, these containers often end up polluting the ocean, where there are roughly over 46,000 pieces of floating plastic trash for every square mile, according to a report by the United Nations.  

Instead of creating a bottle and then filling it with water, González, along with fellow Imperial College London students Pierre Paslier and Guillaume Couche, used a process that allows the bottle to take shape as it coalesces around the liquid. 

González and his team first took a frozen ball of water and dipped it into a calcium chloride solution, which formed a gelatinous layer. Then, the ball soaked in another solution made from brown algae extract, which encapsulated the ice in a second squishy membrane to reinforce the structure. Keeping the water in the algae solution for long periods of time allows the mold to become thicker and stronger.

"The main point in manipulating the water as solid ice during the encapsulation is to make it possible to get bigger spheres and allow the calcium and algae to stay exclusively in the membrane," González says.

The method is adapted from a culinary technique known as spherification. Pioneered in the 1950s by Unilever and popularized by legendary Spanish chef Ferran Adrià, the process has since been used to whip up gastronomic delights such as fake caviar and the juice-filled pearls often added to bubble tea drinks.

But no one had thought to apply it to encase large amounts of water. González's team has since gone through thousands of prototypes, testing them in Spain, Italy and Britain. Last summer, the designers tested a few versions of the product on the streets of Spain for a local television program. 

What do the bottles taste like? Not much, González says, though "the jelly texture around [the bottles] is something we are not used to . yet."

"Not all of the reactions were positive," González says. "Some people say that [the bottles] are like breast implants or jellyfish."

Even with the Ooho's fortified layers, González describes the container's strength as comparable to the skin found on fruit.

"This is a problem we're trying to address with a double container," he says. "The idea is that we can pack several individual edible Oohos into a bigger Ooho container [to make] a thicker and more resistant membrane."

Other challenges include figuring out how to make the bottle re-sealable while keeping the "tasteless" skin sanitary enough for consumers to eat.  Yogurt maker Stonyfield recently rolled out an entire line of yogurt products wrapped in a flavored coating called Wikipearls, made from a mix of natural food particles, which are now available at select Whole Foods locations throughout Massachusetts.  The edible balls of yogurt are sold with the protection of a sealed plastic bag how exactly the Ooho would be packaged on shelves is something developers will determine when the product is rolled out to consumers.

"There's still a lot things with the engineering of the membrane that we need to improve," González says. 

González says a few food and beverage companies have reached out to him to discuss collaborating on the technology further. In the meantime, the project is moving forward under a creative commons license, which means the recipe for Ooho water bottles will be made available online, and soon, if you have two hours and two cents to spare, you could make a bottle in your own kitchen.


Here’s A Water Bottle You Can Actually Eat

Two years ago, design student Rodrigo García González made a name for himself when he invented "Hop!," a suitcase prototype that conveniently follows its owner.

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His latest idea, the edible "Ooho" water bottle, is simpler on the surface but goes after one of the world's most troubling environmental threats: plastic pollution (a problem much more serious than lost luggage).  

In an ideal world, Ooho would replace the 50 billion plastic bottles that Americans consume each year. At last count, about 1.5 million barrels of crude oil are tapped annually to manufacture plastic bottles, according to a 2007 resolution by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. After they're thrown away, these containers often end up polluting the ocean, where there are roughly over 46,000 pieces of floating plastic trash for every square mile, according to a report by the United Nations.  

Instead of creating a bottle and then filling it with water, González, along with fellow Imperial College London students Pierre Paslier and Guillaume Couche, used a process that allows the bottle to take shape as it coalesces around the liquid. 

González and his team first took a frozen ball of water and dipped it into a calcium chloride solution, which formed a gelatinous layer. Then, the ball soaked in another solution made from brown algae extract, which encapsulated the ice in a second squishy membrane to reinforce the structure. Keeping the water in the algae solution for long periods of time allows the mold to become thicker and stronger.

"The main point in manipulating the water as solid ice during the encapsulation is to make it possible to get bigger spheres and allow the calcium and algae to stay exclusively in the membrane," González says.

The method is adapted from a culinary technique known as spherification. Pioneered in the 1950s by Unilever and popularized by legendary Spanish chef Ferran Adrià, the process has since been used to whip up gastronomic delights such as fake caviar and the juice-filled pearls often added to bubble tea drinks.

But no one had thought to apply it to encase large amounts of water. González's team has since gone through thousands of prototypes, testing them in Spain, Italy and Britain. Last summer, the designers tested a few versions of the product on the streets of Spain for a local television program. 

What do the bottles taste like? Not much, González says, though "the jelly texture around [the bottles] is something we are not used to . yet."

"Not all of the reactions were positive," González says. "Some people say that [the bottles] are like breast implants or jellyfish."

Even with the Ooho's fortified layers, González describes the container's strength as comparable to the skin found on fruit.

"This is a problem we're trying to address with a double container," he says. "The idea is that we can pack several individual edible Oohos into a bigger Ooho container [to make] a thicker and more resistant membrane."

Other challenges include figuring out how to make the bottle re-sealable while keeping the "tasteless" skin sanitary enough for consumers to eat.  Yogurt maker Stonyfield recently rolled out an entire line of yogurt products wrapped in a flavored coating called Wikipearls, made from a mix of natural food particles, which are now available at select Whole Foods locations throughout Massachusetts.  The edible balls of yogurt are sold with the protection of a sealed plastic bag how exactly the Ooho would be packaged on shelves is something developers will determine when the product is rolled out to consumers.

"There's still a lot things with the engineering of the membrane that we need to improve," González says. 

González says a few food and beverage companies have reached out to him to discuss collaborating on the technology further. In the meantime, the project is moving forward under a creative commons license, which means the recipe for Ooho water bottles will be made available online, and soon, if you have two hours and two cents to spare, you could make a bottle in your own kitchen.


Here’s A Water Bottle You Can Actually Eat

Two years ago, design student Rodrigo García González made a name for himself when he invented "Hop!," a suitcase prototype that conveniently follows its owner.

Related Content

His latest idea, the edible "Ooho" water bottle, is simpler on the surface but goes after one of the world's most troubling environmental threats: plastic pollution (a problem much more serious than lost luggage).  

In an ideal world, Ooho would replace the 50 billion plastic bottles that Americans consume each year. At last count, about 1.5 million barrels of crude oil are tapped annually to manufacture plastic bottles, according to a 2007 resolution by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. After they're thrown away, these containers often end up polluting the ocean, where there are roughly over 46,000 pieces of floating plastic trash for every square mile, according to a report by the United Nations.  

Instead of creating a bottle and then filling it with water, González, along with fellow Imperial College London students Pierre Paslier and Guillaume Couche, used a process that allows the bottle to take shape as it coalesces around the liquid. 

González and his team first took a frozen ball of water and dipped it into a calcium chloride solution, which formed a gelatinous layer. Then, the ball soaked in another solution made from brown algae extract, which encapsulated the ice in a second squishy membrane to reinforce the structure. Keeping the water in the algae solution for long periods of time allows the mold to become thicker and stronger.

"The main point in manipulating the water as solid ice during the encapsulation is to make it possible to get bigger spheres and allow the calcium and algae to stay exclusively in the membrane," González says.

The method is adapted from a culinary technique known as spherification. Pioneered in the 1950s by Unilever and popularized by legendary Spanish chef Ferran Adrià, the process has since been used to whip up gastronomic delights such as fake caviar and the juice-filled pearls often added to bubble tea drinks.

But no one had thought to apply it to encase large amounts of water. González's team has since gone through thousands of prototypes, testing them in Spain, Italy and Britain. Last summer, the designers tested a few versions of the product on the streets of Spain for a local television program. 

What do the bottles taste like? Not much, González says, though "the jelly texture around [the bottles] is something we are not used to . yet."

"Not all of the reactions were positive," González says. "Some people say that [the bottles] are like breast implants or jellyfish."

Even with the Ooho's fortified layers, González describes the container's strength as comparable to the skin found on fruit.

"This is a problem we're trying to address with a double container," he says. "The idea is that we can pack several individual edible Oohos into a bigger Ooho container [to make] a thicker and more resistant membrane."

Other challenges include figuring out how to make the bottle re-sealable while keeping the "tasteless" skin sanitary enough for consumers to eat.  Yogurt maker Stonyfield recently rolled out an entire line of yogurt products wrapped in a flavored coating called Wikipearls, made from a mix of natural food particles, which are now available at select Whole Foods locations throughout Massachusetts.  The edible balls of yogurt are sold with the protection of a sealed plastic bag how exactly the Ooho would be packaged on shelves is something developers will determine when the product is rolled out to consumers.

"There's still a lot things with the engineering of the membrane that we need to improve," González says. 

González says a few food and beverage companies have reached out to him to discuss collaborating on the technology further. In the meantime, the project is moving forward under a creative commons license, which means the recipe for Ooho water bottles will be made available online, and soon, if you have two hours and two cents to spare, you could make a bottle in your own kitchen.