Wed May 23, 2012
MIT Engineers Solve An Everyday Problem: A Backed-Up Ketchup Bottle
Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 4:00 pm
We've all been there: Banging the back of a glass ketchup bottle, begging it to give you a dollop of the good stuff or battling with a plastic bottle coercing it into giving up the last of its contents.
Maybe that will be a thing of the past.
Six MIT researchers say they've solved that problem as part of an entrepreneurship competition. The result is a bottle coated with "LiquiGlide," a nontoxic material so slippery that the ketchup or for that matter mayonnaise just glides out when you turn it over.
Here's what the students told the magazine:
"Condiments may sound like a narrow focus for a group of MIT engineers, but not when you consider the impact it could have on food waste and the packaging industry. 'It's funny: Everyone is always like, "Why bottles? What's the big deal?" But then you tell them the market for bottles--just the sauces alone is a $17 billion market,' [MIT PhD candidate Dave Smith] says. 'And if all those bottles had our coating, we estimate that we could save about one million tons of food from being thrown out every year.'"
If you're wondering, "LiquiGlide" did not win the competition. Cloudtop, which connects all your online experiences, took top prize in the MIT $100K competition.
Update at 3:10 p.m. ET. A Full Bottle?
Our very sensible editor, Rick Holter, asks: But what happens if the bottle is full? Does LiquiGlide work then? We're posing that question to the team and we'll update the post with the answer.
Update at 6:48 p.m. ET. It Works With Full Bottle:
Kripa Varanasi tells us that LiquiGlide would work even if the bottle is full.
"The videos we showed were to illustrate the point that even the last bit comes off," he told us.