David Edwards is not your typical inventor, writer and Harvard University professor. In addition to creating innovations in various areas of life, he blends art, design and science to make them a reality. Not only do his ideas in product innovation aim to benefit the world at large, but they are are well thought out and modernistic. Edwards is the founder of ArtScience Lab and Le Laboratoire in Paris and at Harvard University, where he and his team find creative solutions to issues by approaching them in nontraditional ways.
Edwards has already gained attention with such cutting edge innovations as AeroShot inhalable energy shots, Le Whif inhalable chocolate, and administering vaccines for diseases, such as tuberculosis, in the form of a spray instead of the traditional needle-in-the-arm method.
Most recently Edwards had an idea to create edible food packaging that could revolutionize our relationship with food. With the joint effort of designer François Azambourg, Harvard professor Don Ingber and a team of designers and scientists, his idea has become reality.
It’s called WikiCells and its goal is to reduce waste by eliminating the traditional packaging system and replacing it with natural resources. These natural resources create an outer shell, with food inside. Both are equally edible.
Think of the packaging as the skin of a fruit, where you can peel away the skin and eat the fruit inside. With WikiCells, you can decide whether or not you’d like to eat the skin and the food inside or if you’d like to just simply throw the skin away. The skin, just like fruit, has added flavor and nutrients. WikiCells is easy to clean. If the exterior gets dirty, you can simply wash it with water without worrying about the flavor being washed down the drain.
According to a press release, WikiCells can contain carrots, tomatoes, juices, ice cream, yogurt and all sorts of solid and liquid foods, as well as emulsions and mouses. Current offerings include Wiki IceCream, WikiCheese, WikiYogurt, WikiFruit and WikiCoctail.
WikiCells may have a worldwide impact and prove beneficial if it becomes commercially available by removing the need for any type of plastic for packaging. If it becomes a staple at local grocery stores or becomes a menu option at restaurants, it would reduce the waste of traditional packaging throughout the world.
In future, Edwards plans to create a portable WikiCell device accessible to individuals, especially those in developing countries, enabling them to make their own edible containers.
Through his lab work, Edwards hopes to continue exploring the relationship between art and science and creating tools that help us adapt functionally to a rapidly changing world.