Doing the dishes stinks, and even expensive dishwashers designed for the task don’t make the job all that easy. But a new self-cleaning plate and bowl, developed by the Swedish design studio Tomorrow Machine and research company Innventia, could make the chore obsolete.
This dishware is made entirely of cellulose—renewable plant pulp—that’s been finished with a superhydrophobic coating found naturally in biological structures such as lotus leaves. In other words, its surface rejects liquid at the molecular scale, causing droplets to bead rather than flatten. To clean this plate, simply tip it over and watch all the gunk roll right off. (We’re told even wiping the plate is unnecessary.)
This project was developed at the request of the Swedish Forest Industries Foundation. "Our brief was to design a product for the year 2035 using cellulose from wood fibers and new technology," explains designer Hanna Billqvis. "We wanted to create a design that speaks of all the qualities of this new material, light and strong, but possible to mold into soft and even double curved surfaces."
The material developed by Innventia is produced as a convenient sheet which is then hot pressed into a mold that makes the cellulose harden like ceramic. The result is a plate that is both lighter than ceramic and won’t shatter when you drop it.
Of course, if you’ve ever seen videos of superhydrophobic materials, you’ll know that they’re not just Teflon slippery, they are insanely, mind-bendingly slippery. We wondered if the surface was so slick that it might make a lasagna fly across the table with a stray push of the fork, but Billqvis assures us there were no such problems in testing their prototype. The catch: Innventia’s superhydrophobic coating isn’t yet approved for consumption with food. But until it is, there are always other enticing alternatives to doing the dishes.
[Hat tip: psfk]