Imagine if you could plunge a straw into a juice box, suck up the juice, and then eat the juice box. That's what Professor David A. Edwards has essentially created. The biomedical engineer and his team of Harvard brainacs have invented a membrane and shell made from charged polymer and food particles that could enclose food (or liquid) and be a biodegradable (and edible) substitute to plastic bottles.
“The idea was to try to create a bottle which was based on how nature creates bottles,” Edwards said. The product, called WikiCells, can be peeled off or eaten.
So far, his lab has filled an orange membrane with orange juice, a tomato-flavored enclosure filled with gazpacho and even grape-sized packages filled with wine.
Edwards, who was previously known for developing inhalable chocolate and inhalable caffeine, says that the product will most likely be seen in restaurant settings first. But he has plans to sell it in specialty supermarkets.
Ultimately, he hopes to make it possible for people to create their own WikiCells packaging. He told the Harvard Crimson, “People in a village in Africa could become plastic bottle-free and make things for themselves. It's really exciting from a humanitarian point of view.”
That's all well and good, but let's hope these WikiCells hold their cargo well, because if they don't, the “WikiLeaks” puns they will invite because of the name will be inevitable.
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