Every now and then someone comes up with an ingenious idea that can make life a bit easier–and a bit more fun, too. Some of these inventions you may have heard of or are using on an everyday basis. While others are pretty unique and haven’t quite hit the mainstream market yet. Here are ten amazing food innovations from years past, along some that have yet to come to fruition.
10. Edible Drones
Nigel Gifford, founder and chairman of Windhorse Aerospace, is developing an edible drone that could deliver food to war-torn and disaster-ravaged areas. “Terrorizing populations has become one of the most effective methods of modern hybrid warfare. This is a way to send people the food and nutrition they need,” he told Forbes. Not only can Pouncer, as the drone is called, deliver food and water, but it can also deliver medicine. And, you can also deconstruct the drone and use the wood for a fire to boil the food and water. According to Windhorse, each drone is capable of delivering enough supplies to keep people sustained for several days.
9. Mind-Reading Menu
Back in 2014, Pizza Hut rolled out new menus that can read customers’ minds. Here’s how it worked: The menus used eye tracking technology controlled completely by the customer’s retina to predict what they wanted to order. The menus would then sort through nearly 5,000 possible menu combinations to find a match between the customer’s cravings and the restaurant’s offerings. And, within two-and-a-half seconds, a custom-ordered pizza could be on its way. The technology was tested at Pizza Hut locations in the UK. And, surprisingly, it had a 98 percent success rate!
8. Intelligent Frying Pan
If you want to learn how to cook, don’t waste your time and money on cookbooks and cooking tutorials. Try Pantelligent instead! It comes with recipes and an easy-to-use app that walks you through the cooking process step by step, even telling you when to turn the heat up or down. And, it has an autopilot feature that does much of the work for you if one of your meals isn’t turning out so well. Unfortunately, according to a review on CNET.com, the $200 pan doesn’t work with induction cooktops.
7. Sugar Reducer
No, this isn’t some new diabetic treatment, although it certainly could be used for that purpose. What we’re talking about here is a technology scientists came up with that reduces the amount of sugar needed to make chocolate and other sweet treats. This technology is known as trehalose, or mycose. Trehalose is actually a disaccharide sugar that serves as a healthy alternative to traditional sugar. It’s been in use for years now in food products like nutrition bars, ice cream, chewing gum, and even vegetables and sushi. It’s also been used in therapeutic products such as Herceptin, Lucentis, Avastin, and Advate.
6. Clothes Fibers Made from Food Residues
Now, this is the ultimate in recycling! Instead of throwing away those leftovers, you can wear them instead. For example, S.Café uses coffee grounds to make yarn. According to its website, “S. Café technology, with a low-temperature, high-pressure and energy saving process, combines coffee grounds onto the yarn surface, changing the characteristics of the filament, and offers up to 200% faster drying time compared to cotton. Also, the micro-pores on S. Café® coffee grounds absorb odors and reflect UV rays all the time!”
Meanwhile, as part of Expo 2015 in Milan “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life,” Textifood presented clothes fibers made from non-edible plant or animal by-products. Designers who incorporated this technology into their textiles included Coralie Marabelle, Christine Phung, Design Percept, A+ZDesign, Egide Paris, Az&Mut, and L’Herbe Rouge.
5. Cloud Seeding
In existence since the 1940s, cloud seeding is a methodology that uses small particles to produce rain or snow in order to help crops grow. But, there was little evidence to suggest that this technology even worked–until now. According to Science magazine, researchers flew two small planes through the mountains of southwestern Idaho, dropping canisters that spread silver iodide into the clouds. At first, nothing happened. Then, the clouds’ water particles began to swell. And, after a couple of hours, snowflakes began to form and eventually started falling to the ground. “We were super, super excited. Nobody had seen that before,” Katja Friedrich, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Colorado in Boulder, said in a Science magazine article.
4. Edible Water Bottles
Skipping Rocks Lab developed an all-natural, sustainable, flexible material suitable for water bottles that’s also edible! The material, known as Ooho, is made from seaweed extract. But, it isn’t just made for water. According to Skipping Rocks Lab, you can put just about any liquid into the bottles. They’re even testing its usage for sauces and condiments.
So, what was the idea behind this neat little invention? Well, the fact that plastic bottles commonly litter the sea and take 700 years to decompose had a lot to do with it. “Changing the way we package our drinks is imperative to the protection of the environment. Ooho makes it easy to be good and allows consumers who care about the environment to make the positive choices they want to make,” the company said on its website.
3. Edible Food Packaging
To rid us of our co-dependence on plastic, the USDA announced in August 2016 the creation of biodegradable packaging film made from casein, a protein found in milk. This film is said to be 500 times better at keeping food fresh than plastic packaging, plus it’s edible, so it eliminates plastic waste.
Meanwhile, an Indian company named Bakeys found a way of its own to eliminate plastic waste — with edible utensils. The company makes edible spoons out of dough made from a mixture of sorghum, rice and wheat flours. The spoons come in a variety of flavors, including cumin and ginger-garlic, are capable of holding hot liquids (although they will soften if left in hot or cold liquids for more than ten minutes), and have a shelf life of two years.
2. Self-Serve Beer Machines
A few years back, a portable self-serve beer kiosk made its debut at ballpark in Minnesota. The machines dispensed beer by the ounce. If you wanted a pint, you had to show your ID to a cashier and purchase a vending card. Fans could get Bud Light and Budweiser for 38 cents per ounce and Shock Top Lemon Shandy and Goose Island 312 Urban Pale Ale for 40 cents per ounce. Unfortunately, it’s popularity was short-lived, mostly because of weather conditions and fans not being able to interact with bartenders as they are so accustomed to and have grown so fond of doing.
1. 3D Food Printing
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could purchase food online and then download it and print it out? Well, we may not be able to do that just yet, but 3D food printing comes pretty close. Here’s how it works: The user fills a syringe-like container with food. The syringe is then used to push the food out at a steady rate, forming layers along the way. As it stands right now, 3D food printing is limited to ingredients that can be made into a paste. With that said, 3D printers are able to print foods like pasta, cookie dough, mashed potatoes, and cheese.
Are you on the verge of developing some really neat technological inventions? Let us know what you’ve been up to. Thanks for reading!