The colander (strainer) is unlikely to be top of many people's list of things that need reinventing. That said, a folding, lightweight take on the utensil called the Rmdlo seems to have captured people's imaginations, having exceeded its Kickstarter campaign target with time left to run.
The name Rmdlo is a contraction of the word armadillo, after which the device is named because of the similarity in looks that its folding mechanism shares with the animal's shell. The design uses several stainless steel slats (or "leaves") to make up the colander bowl when it is open, which collapse flat on each other when it is closed.
According to its makers, the primary benefit of the design is that it folds away to a fraction of the size of a normal colander, and is much easier to store as a result. It can be slotted into a draw or hung from the wall on its optional wall mount. The flexibility of the material is also claimed to make it better than traditional rigid colanders for squeezing out liquid from any contents or pouring its contents into another container or onto a plate.
The inventor of the Rmdlo, Ran Merkazy, explained to Gizmag that he was struck by the phenomena of steel strips being folded into a dome shape before realizing its potential use. "It took a few more years until the final functionality hit me," he said. "This would be perfect for straining and steaming."
Merkazy was working as a full-time designer for Speedo at the time and subsequently Dyson. His time was spent juggling his full-time work with the designing, experimenting and testing of his colander concept when he got home. Dozens of iterations and rethinks were required to get the product to its current stage.
"Getting the mechanism to work was a big challenge on many fronts," Merkazy revealed. "Making the leaves fold and unfold like that was a major challenge, but once that was resolved I had to answer many other questions. How do you package a mechanism that pulls leaves elegantly one after the other into a usable kitchen utensil size? How do you manufacture and assemble it? How do you get it to bend into a classic bowl shape?"
When open, the Rmdlo measures 220 mm (8.7 in) across and 110 mm (4.3 in) deep. Markazy says it can manage a 2 kg (4.4 lb) load when being held by one handle and, despite the moving parts involved, is confident the Rmdlo has a durable design. Asked if he has plans to redesign any other kitchen utensils Markazy responds shrewdly, "Yes, but I'm not telling!"
The Rmdlo is expected to be available to consumers from October 2014. Assuming all goes to plan, a £20 (US$34) pledge will get you an Rmdlo on its own, £30 will get you the device with a wall mount and for £600 you'll receive a titanium version with a wall mount.
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