A team of entrepreneurs affiliated with Skipping Rocks Lab has started a crowdfunding effort to mass-market a consumable water bottling device that produces what they call the Ooho!— a spherical blob of water held in a thin membrane that is small enough to be popped into the mouth. The team is looking to raise a half-million dollars to market their idea, which they claim is an attempt to do away with plastic packaging waste.
Skipping Rocks Lab is a London-based startup that has set a goal of creating innovative sustainable packaging for products. The idea for the Ooho! came from the culinary world, where liquids are packaged using what is called spherification — an ice ball is dipped in a mix of brown algae and calcium chloride. A clear membrane forms, holding the ice as it melts, eventually giving way to a sphere of water, juice or other liquid. Some have suggested the end result looks very much like a breast implant or even a jellyfish. Because the membrane is made from natural ingredients, it can be eaten or tossed in a compost pile, or perhaps on the ground, where it biodegrades over the course of a week or so. On their site, the team notes that the process can be modified to create different sized balls and membrane thicknesses — it can even be made to allow for edible labels (made from rice paper) to be suspended between layers. Flavors can also be added to the membrane itself; otherwise, it is tasteless.
The purpose of the project, the development team claims, is to rid the world of the problem of water bottles piling up in landfills around the world — hundreds of millions are added to the global pile every day. Bottled water, which now outsells all other packaged beverages in the United States, presents a clear environmental problem. The team at Skipping Rocks wants to make and sell (or lease) the machine that is used to create the Ooho!, which would allow venues to produce them onsite, instead of selling water in plastic bottles — prime possibilities would include marathons, concerts, park-side stands or amusement parks.