The electric kettle: redefined
By: Hilde van der Heijden
Nils Chudy has taken a close look at one of the objects you find in almost every kitchen. He went all the way to the beginning asking: what is an electric kettle actually supposed to do? What is its essence when you reduce it to its core functions and forget all archetypes?
One of the first questions Nils Chudy asked was: why do kettles look like rendered spaceships or high-speed trains? It's as if they want to suggest a sense of movement, but why? Nils: "I definitely saw room for improvement in the physical design. But I also noticed that it has a fundamental flaw in the way it is used: it is usually overfilled. Sustainability strategist Leyla Acaroglu found out that one day of excess energy use from overfilling electric kettles is enough to light all the streetlights in England for a night. If you only want one cup of tea, you effectively waste 50% of the energy. This became my focus: to design it so that it will heat exactly the amount you need.”
With Miito, the end result of Nils' research, you can heat any liquid, and exactly the amount you need, using just the induction base and a rod. It is a system that uses induction technique: the rod creates an electromagnetic field that causes the rod to heat, which then transfers the heat to the liquid in the cup, pot or vessel. Nils has been nominated for a Keep an Eye Grant, which will be awarded during the opening of the Graduation Show on 18 October.
This design seems so logical, as if all you had to do was connect the dots?
"Looking back, it does look very straightforward. But during the design process it really wasn’t that clear! I guess good design always looks rational and logical but I needed to invest a lot of work before I got to this point. During the design process I always had usability as a principle in the back of my head, hence Miito is easy and fun to use. Less limestone is produced, which means it is clean and quiet. Furthermore you can heat any liquid in any vessel you want. You can heat milk in a paper cup even. I'm proud it all came together and that Miito has so many advantages over other water heating solutions.
Will the grant be enough to introduce MIITO into people's homes?
"I have already taken steps to make it happen, but it is a long and difficult process. At this point I have a 'dirty working prototype' but I still need to invest in a solid one that’s ready for production. I have already applied for a patent. The patent office will take 8 months to research all databases to look for anything similar to my application. I also want to collaborate with an electrical engineer who is aware of safety measures that need to be followed and certificates to be obtained. Ultimately my dream is to make it happen: bring Miito on the market and into people's homes and kitchens. So, yes, I am very eager and driven to do this, but I could definitely use some support to make it happen."