Electric tea kettles, and tea kettles in general, are wasteful. Since most people thoughtlessly fill the kettle up to the top, even if they only need a single cup, energy is spent heating unused water. And that wasted energy adds up. In England alone, the U.K.'s Energy Saving Trust says that if everyone boiled only the water they need, they would save enough electrity to power the nation's street lights for two months.
Created by Danish design studio Chudy and Grase, the Miito isn't so much a redesigned tea kettle as it is a reinvention of the way we boil water. What if you could easily boil water in the very cup you were going to be drinking from, or the kettle you'd be brewing your tea in? Whether you want to boil a cup or a gallon, the Miito aims to heat up exactly the amount of liquid you want.
The Miito works almost exactly like a wireless phone charger. It comes in two parts: an induction base, and a magnetic rod. When you drop the rod inside a receptacle full of liquid, the Miito's base creates an electromagnetic field that causes the water around it to heat up. Not only does that mean you can heat up only the liquid you need, but it keeps your water cleaner: unlike a regular kettle, the Miito produces less limestone, and it also boils liquid more quietly.
According to Nils Chudy, one of the designers, the Niito was born after he asked himself why most electric tea kettles looked like spaceships or high-speed trains. He felt that they were designed in such a way as to imply aerodynamics and efficiency, when they're anything but. You could use measuring cups to laboriously fill your tea kettle, but almost no one is going to bother. Instead, most people just guess how much water to add from the faucet.
"I definitely saw room for improvement in the physical design. But I also noticed that it has a fundamental flaw in the way it is used: it is usually overfilled," Chudy says told Design Academy Eindhoven. "This became my focus: to design it so that it will heat exactly the amount you need."
Although the Miito has already been shortlisted for a James Dyson award, it is still just a prototype and not yet ready for our homes and kitchens. But if they succeed, you might never have to wait more than a few seconds for a cup of tea again.
You can find more information on the Miito here.