Dutch Design Week 2014: Design Academy Eindhoven graduate Nils Chudy has devised a way to heat liquid in a cup, eliminating the wasted energy associated with boiling excess water in a kettle (+ movie).
To use the Miito product, users fill their mug with water, then place it on an induction plate and immerse a metal rod in the liquid. The plate creates an electromagnetic field, which only heats ferrous materials. The rod heats up and transfers its heat directly, and only to, the liquid.
"The majority of electric kettles are extremely wastefully designed – the minimum fill line is usually at 500 millilitres," said Chudy. "This means that if you want one cup of tea – 250 millilitres – you waste 50 per cent of the hot water and therefore 50 per cent of the energy."
"We set out to redesign the electric kettle from the ground up, asking the question: how can we change people's habits of overfilling electric kettles in order to save energy?"
Miito works with a range of liquids including water, milk and soup, and with any non-ferrous vessel including cups, teapots and bowls.
The simple shape of the rod makes it easy to clean and minimises limescale build-up, and a silicone handle insulates the rod for handling. "The tip of the handle clearly communicates to the user: grab here – this part is not warm," Chudy told Dezeen.
"Miito is designed in a way that is very intuitive and user friendly – there is no on or off button, instead it understands what the user wants to do and it just works," the designer added.
Releasing the rod from its base shifts it into standby mode, resulting in a small flow of current that allows it to detect the ferrous material of the induction plate. Once a vessel is on the base and the rod is placed inside, the full induction power turns on and heats the rod.
The device automatically shifts back into standby mode once boiling point has been reached and switches off when returned to its base.
"In the past years nothing much has happened with kettles, except they have more power and therefore waste more energy. We believe it is time to rethink the way we do things," Chudy told Dezeen.
"We are trying to completely revolutionise the electric kettle market – we know how hard it is to change user behaviour, but we hope that our intuitive user interface will simplify the shift away from electric kettles towards the Miito way of doing things."
The product currently exists as a visual prototype that illustrates the form and a technical prototype that demonstrates the technology. The next step is to combine the two into a working model.
The product is the Netherlands' national winner of the James Dyson Award 2014 and is shortlisted for the overall prize. Miito is on show at this year's Design Academy Eindhoven graduate exhibition, taking place during Dutch Design Week until 26 October.