A new way to cook? A new kind of sex toy? You decide!

Do you know what’s antiquated? Cooking over a burner. Seriously, what kind of caveman still holds a pot or pan over a source of heat, hoping that it heats up, and cooks its contents? This is the year 2012. This is the year…we might all die. OR this is the FUTURE. WE ARE LIVING IN THE FUTURE, AND WE DON’T NEED TO COOK OVER SOURCES OF HEAT!

The Throbber package [lol] consists of balls that heat up and vibrate. And you put them where…?

Well, of course you put those heated vibrating balls in this pot of soup. Get your mind out of the gutter…or don’t.

From designer Virang Akhiyaniya‘s product page:

Throbber package is consists of six induction balls.

So use as many as you want. It consists of Induction coil, power circuit and vibration circuit.

Where vibration in the throbber is helping the ball to move around food.

The “Throbber package.” LOL. I cannot make this stuff up.

Seriously, those balls are part of the “Throbber package.” The Throbber package balls vibrate.

But…why? How…?

Throbber is made up of aluminum for high conductivity of heat and less stick to the food. throbber are easy to clean and store with box.

Use it any where but beware it may hot.

I bet it’s hot. LOL.

In tradition of cooking there are lots of technology has been taken part. which started from conventional wood burning to oven and goes on. so in such fast moving technology and people. why should we stop at conventional stove or oven.
Throbber is new innovative product for fast moving people or traveler. It is a inductive heating ball which can control by simple mobile application.

Okay okay okay…deep breaths, breathe in…and out…hahaha, in and out! LOL! Oh man, okay okay…let’s be serious. [clears throat] Let me summarize everything here. The Throbber package consists of balls made of aluminum. Each ball heats up through induction. The idea is that instead of placing your pot of…stew or soup? on a burner, you just drop these balls in the pot. Using your smartphone, you can turn on the balls so they heat up. The balls also vibrate, which would cause them to move around in whatever stew or soup you’re cooking, allowing the balls to heat the contents of the pot unifomly.

Mmmmm…delicious hot vibrating aluminum ball soup.

How the hell would this even work?

For some reason, induction seems to be the buzzword in design concepts these days. But as I’ve discussed here and here, industrial designers seem to use the term without understanding what induction is, or how it works. And you know what? I’m not going to explain it here. Because I’ve done it in previous posts, and it’s b o r i n g. I will give you this Wikipedia link to Faraday’s Law of Induction, though.

Here’s the thing: induction burners just don’t create energy, and then use it to heat things up. That’s not how it works. Energy  has to come from a source. To state that these balls heat up by “induction” implies that there is a source of magnetic flux somewhere that induces currents in the aluminum exterior of the ball, causing it to produce heat. And if that’s the case, then these balls just can’t be taken with you on a picnic, to be tossed in a giant can of Chef Boyardee raviolis [or Beef-a-reeno], in order to heat them up, so the whole family can enjoy hot, canned pasta-in-sauce while relaxing in the great outdoors. Or maybe the designer believes the “induction coil” inside the ball creates a changing magnetic field that then induces a current in the aluminum exterior of the ball. If this is the case, what the hell kind of really small, super-magical power supply do you have in that ball?? Because screw induction: just use that small, super-magical power supply to heat up the ball directly.

In addition to the “induction coil”, the balls also contain a “power circuit” and a “vibrating circuit.” The induction coil does the heating, the vibrating circuit does the vibrating [and probably should include a motor], and the power circuit controls them all, and also probably has some sort of RF/Bluetooth/WiFi receiver, since one is supposed to be able to control these balls using an app on their smartphone. All this stuff is shoved into a small, hollow aluminum ball…that gets hot enough to cook food. I’m not so sure any of these “circuits” would survive the intense heat…if they even fit inside the ball.

What the hell are you cooking with this?

Besides the aforementioned giant can of  Chef Boyardee raviolis, and the soup in the pictures, what else are you cooking with these balls? You’re pretty much stuck cooking food where the balls can be submersed: stews, soups, chili, curries, porridge, etc. The balls have a good amount of heated surface area, but it’s only available when whatever needs to be cooked can utilize that surface area i.e. the food needs to surround the balls [lol, ‘surround the balls’]. Only liquids will be able to do that. I suppose you could maybe try to wrap a piece of bacon around a ball. Or maybe you could cover one of the balls in ground meat or sausage? It could be like a Scotch Egg, but with a delicious aluminum center. Yep, you’re pretty much stuck cooking liquid foods with these things.

<saltnpepa> Let’s talk about sex! </saltnpepa>

You know, this product concept [which I think was probably entered into the Electrolux Design Lab competition, from the looks of the “Electrolux” lettering on the balls in the first pic] when applied to cooking is pretty much…shit. It just doesn’t make sense. However, apply these same ideas to, say, the intimate massager market, and I think we have a winner.

I’m going to admit, when I saw that these balls vibrated and heated up, I immediately thought of intimate massagers…eh, what the hell…sex toys. Why not? Sex toys are not the taboo products they once were. And from an industrial design standpoint, sex toys are the ultimate example of experiential design. A designer has to understand and consider every stakeholder involved, and also has to understand how and why sex toys are used, and how people feel about them, and how people *feel* them. It’s a product area where I think design can really do some good. Take a look at the products from Lelo, like the Tiani 2:

Yes, that’s correct. It’s a red dot design award winner. And what is it? Well, it’s an intimate massager that’s controlled by a wireless remote. Sounds like it has a similar function to those cooking balls, doesn’t it? Most recently, it seems wireless is a theme with sex toys; as we live our daily lives with untethered devices [mobile smartphones, tablets, notebook computers, bluetooth headsets, GPS units, etc.], naturally we would want to apply this same freedom to intimacy devices, which in the past have been very bulky and tethered by cords, making them very unsexy [just look at the ancient workhorse of intimacy devices, the Hitachi Magic Wand]. Wireless vibrators seem to be all the rage, and many lower priced examples can be found, like this 10 speed purple one, or this waterproof unit.

Below is a video for a product called Vibese, which takes the idea of a wirelessly controlled intimate massager like the Tiani, but adds a twist: the remote control is a smartphone, either yours, or your partner’s.

Warning: the totally safe-for-work video is cheesy, has some really bad sounding audio, and will not put you in the mood for sex AT ALL.

I think the Throbber package [lol] concept is not really compelling. Balls that heat up and vibrate, controlled by your smartphone, to cook food in any cooking vessel? Oh, come on. I just don’t see the problem it solves. I guess it solves the problem of cooking when you don’t have a source of heat…but only if you want to cook food that comes in liquid form. However, what if we take those exact same product specifications/characteristics, and apply it to an intimate massager? I think the designer might actually have something. Also, he could still call it Throbber. It would totally work.

Virang Akhiyaniya via Yanko Designs