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March 28, 2014

WikiPearl

WikiPearl is a blob of water held together by a membrane made from brown algae and calcium chloride. It works like an egg yolk - if you carry whole egg yolks around with you and slip one out of your bag whenever you'd like a snack. Here's a video that's supposed to illustrate its use:

Far be it from me to be picky, but if you're trying to illustrate the use of a clear blob of water, doing so on a white table set against a white backdrop with two people wearing nothing but white in a studio setting evenly lighted from multiple sources so there are no shadows is not the most effective way, especially when the critical element (that is, how to drink from it) is mostly hidden behind the hands of the drinker. She doesn't pop the whole thing in her mouth, as I had expected, even though it looks a bit too large for that. She bites the membrane, or sucks water through the permeable (?) membrane, or she licks it to dissolve a bit of the membrane. The article says the membrane is edible, but they don't ever show anyone eating one.

They say they say its created "using 'spherification,' the technique of shaping liquids into spheres first pioneered in labs in 1946." But in the how-it's-made video on the same page they show that they just pour water into spherical molds. Then "the water is frozen as ice." I think ice is definitely the best thing to freeze water as. Freezing it as stainless steel, for example, or banana puree would contradict the physics of our universe. Maybe no one thought of making a sphere to hold liquids for freezing until 1946. Maybe. But I bet somebody thought of it before then.

After freezing, the balls of ice are dunked in a broth that must contain the brown algae and calcium chloride. Then, I guess (they don't say), they are left to set up as WikiPearls.

I'm curious why they don't make it a little smaller so that the consumer could pop a whole one in his mouth, chew and swallow. That would solve the problem of water spilling all over the place when you try to drink from it.

We know somebody likes the design, because it won a Lexus Design Award and will be shown during Milan Design Week.

Much more exciting is that the article says WikiPearl will be sold at "selected Whole Foods" stores "this month." I'm not really sure that the water blob will be what's on sale, though, because when you go look at WikiPearl's website you'll see that they are offering an array of spherical foods that appear to be wrapped in this same membrane of brown algae and calcium chloride, but they don't even mention the water blob. One of those products is WikiPearl ice cream. They avoid the obvious question of how WikiPearl ice cream is superior in any way to traditional Mochi ice cream.

But let's just head on over to one of these select Whole Foods stores and give it a hands on test ourselves. Here are the locations which are convenient to all:

  • First, there's the store in Charles River Plaza in Boston, Massachusetts. Ken, it's your job to check this one out.
  • If you live further west, you'll want to go to the store on River Street in Cambridgeport, Massachusetts. That's David's task.
  • But of course, some people live farther west than that. For them there is the store on Alewife at Fresh Pond in Cambridge, Massachusetts. That one is Brian's.
  • Those who live far, far from Boston will find their WikiPearls at the store on Market Street in Lynnfield, Massachusetts. That one is for Tim & George.

There ya go! Everybody in the United States who is anywhere in that great 10-mile swath from downtown Boston to the north shore can enjoy the wonders of WikiPearl! I expect you'll be seeing a lot of these on the Red Line. If they're cheap enough I imagine the students of Harvard and MIT will find a way to use them as little pre-made water balloons. Or they could be re-frozen and used as ice balls during a dry winter.

I think the WikiPearl is a great product for space travel. They should be marketing it in Florida, Texas and Kazakhstan.

Filed under Food and Drink | permalink | March 28, 2014 at 01:40 PM

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