'Snail' Heats Pots on the Spot
Snails were the inspiration for this year's winning home tech device in the annual Electrolux Design Lap 2010 competition held in London.
Peter Alwin, a student at the National Institute of Design in India, invented the Snail, a micro-induction cooking device that can be stuck directly on to a pot, a pan, or a mug to heat the contents. Powered by a high density sugar crystal battery, the Snail converts the energy from the sugar, heating up a coil to conduct the magnetic induction process to the utensil. Integrated sensors detect the food type being heated so as to automatically adjust the time and temperature. A simple touch sensitive display with interface helps to monitor the process.
The Snail is the latest example of biomimetics, the science that applies nature to technology, following butterfly-inspired e-reader displays, unmanned aerial spy vehicles that simulate the flight of a hummingbird , and cameras based on the eyes of bees . The "foot" of the device sticks to any vertical surface, while its "shell" houses the heating mechanism.
Participants in the annual design contest were asked invent devices suited to life in 2050, the "Second Space Age" when 74 percent of the world's population is expected to live in heavily-populated urban environments, according to a United Nations report.
"In addition to being a solution for city dwellers, the Snail offers a wider social potential for use in remote areas; just as the first mobile phone opened opportunities," Electrolux judges said in their awards summary.
This year over 1,300 entries were submitted from design students in 50 countries.
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