On a hot summer day, it's almost a given that a portion of your ice cream will be lost to the sidewalk. Unless, that is, you get your ice cream from WikiBar in Paris. In that case, feel free to use your hands.
But WikiBar isn't just serving up innovative ice cream. The experimental shop is selling an idea for the future of food. And that comes in the form of WikiPearl, a food concept -- developed by David Edwards, a Harvard professor looking at different ways to transport water inspired by biological cells -- with flavored, edible skin surrounding a food. For now that might come in the form of a coconut skin with chocolate ice cream (that won't melt in your hands) in the middle, but in the future you could have a vanilla skin with coffee in the middle, or yogurt, or cheese.
The benefits include less mess during your meals and less packaging (WikiPearls are sold in 100 percent biodegradable packages). And, of course, the benefit unmentioned by Edwards, that your ice cream will be climate-proof, not melting instantaneously on a warmer planet.
But as with any innovation, changing habits, even with great ideas, can be difficult. That's why, as Wired reports, Edwards and his team are bringing this futuristic food to the store now:
“We view what happens in the WikiBar very much as collaboration with the public where we’re sort of trying new things out,” [Edwards] explains. This follows the form of Edwards’ other venture Le Laboratoire, a community innovation lab where he gets feedback on the technology he and his partners develop. “It’s hard to be inventing for 2025 and not have any dialogue with the public,” he says.
The product is expected to be available in the United States later this fall and a second WikiBar is expected to open in Cambridge, Mass. next year. By next summer, we can only hope.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com