MIT’s new food packaging coating ends violent ketchup bottle shaking

Nearly empty condiment bottles

We’ve all been there. You get a bottle of Heinz ketchup from your cupboard or in a restaurant ready to dress up those fresh-cut fries. When you open it up, however, the bottle is nearly finished and you have to keep tapping the neck of the container to get the last bits to flow out. That, or you can keep shaking and pray the ketchup won’t end up everywhere. Yes it’s painful and annoying, but you can’t help change the consistency of ketchup because that’d just be a gross solution. The squeezable plastic bottles also work, but toward the end they just splatter around a lot.

Instead, reseachers from Varanasi Research Group gathered up at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology labs to develop LiquiGlide, a non-stick coating for food packaging that will help substances flow out of the containers more seamlessly. Considering the thick consistency of condiments like mayonnaise, ketchup, and mustard, the new way to make food packaging easier for those substances to glide out may really have an impact on diners, restaurants, and fast food chains and how much they can save.

“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 Ph.D candidate and one of the members of the LiquiGlide project Dave Smith tells Fast Co.Exist. “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.”

The LiquiGlide surface is developed to have a liquid-like lubrication to make condiments simply flow, yet maintain a rigid exterior to keep the substance safely inside. The coating can also be applied to surfaces like plastic and glass by a spray coverage. LiquiGlide has been patented since it’s prototype release and the team say it’s made from FDA-approved materials to not tamper with food safety. All that’s left is marketing to major bottle manufacturing companies so together, they can end food waste and annoying, violent shakes to get the last bits of condiments out. Of course, this would mean Smith is going to have to demonstrate a lot of traditional bottle pounding to prove to companies how his product can make life easier.

“It was never really a personal pain point for me, but I do hate struggling to get sauce out of the bottles,” Smith says.

With LiquiGlide recently winning the second place title in last week’s MIT’s $100k Entrepreneurship Competition, it’s no surprise the technology would be a hit among consumers. The prototype also took home the fan-favorite award despite not winning the whole competition.

For reference, watch the two videos below to see the difference between a traditional bottle and a LiquiGlide-coated bottle using the same ketchup.

LiquiGlide:

Traditional:

Mindblowing. Does this make anyone crave a burger or a hot dog now?

Image Credit: Flickr / Steve A. Johnson

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (March 2019)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Smart Home

Is your Keurig making gross coffee? Might be time for a cleaning

No one likes a dirty, scaled, or smelly Keurig, but how are you supposed to clean them? Before you throw yours out the window, here is a quick guide on cleaning your machine out thoroughly.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (March 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Business

Bags with brains: Smart luggage and gadgets are making travel smoother

The bag you use to tote your stuff can affect the experience of any trip. In response, suitcases are wising up, and there are now options for smart luggage with scales, tracking, and more. Here are our favorite pieces.
Computing

At $99, Nvidia’s Jetson Nano minicomputer seeks to bring robotics to the masses

Nvidia announced a new A.I. computer, the Jetson Nano. This computer comes with an 128-core GPU that Nvidia claims can handle pretty much any A.I. framework you could imagine. At $99, it's an affordable way for A.I. newbies to get involved.
Emerging Tech

The U.S. Army is building a giant VR battlefield to train soldiers virtually

Imagine if the U.S. Army was able to rehearse battlezone scenarios dozens, or even hundreds, or times before settling foot on actual terrain. Thanks to virtual reality, that's now a possibility.
Computing

Nvidia’s A.I. Playground lets you edit photos, experience deep learning research

Nvidia is making it easier to access information on deep learning research. It has launched an online space with three demos for image editing, styling, as well as photorealistic image synthesis. 
Business

British Airways’ new Club Suite for business class comes with a door

British Airways is going after a bigger slice of the business class market with the imminent launch of the Club Suite. The plush seating option offers a more private space as well as an easier route to the bathroom.
Smart Home

Sony’s Aibo robot dog can now patrol your home for persons of interest

Sony released the all-new Aibo in the U.S. around nine months ago, and since then the robot dog has (hopefully) been melting owners' hearts with its cute looks and clever tricks. Now it has a new one up its sleeve.
Emerging Tech

Inflating smart pills could be a painless alternative to injections

Could an inflating pill containing hidden microneedles replace painful injections? The creators of the RaniPill robotic capsule think so — and they have the human trials to prove it.
Emerging Tech

A silver bullet is being aimed at the drug-resistant superbugs on the ISS

A bacteria which is benign here on Earth can mutate into a drug-resistant superbug once it enters space. Now this problem is being tackled by a team of microbiologists who have found a way to inhibit the spread of bacteria in the ISS.
Emerging Tech

Tombot is the hyper-realistic dog robot that puts Spot to shame

Forget Boston Dynamics’ Spot! When it comes to robot dogs, the folks behind a new Kickstarter campaign have plans to stake their claim as makers of man’s (and woman’s) newest best friend.
Emerging Tech

Researchers gave alligators headphones and ketamine, and all for a good cause

Researchers in Germany and the United States recently gave ketamine and earphones to alligators to monitor how they process sounds. Here's what it reveals about alligator evolution.