Here’s an interesting, innovative home design concept for kitchens that’s arrived just in time for the season of high cookery and calorie-counting (i.e. the season when we actually use electric kitchen gizmos and make a real effort to hit the gym):
Eco-minded German design student Christoph Thetard has created the R2B2 (I’m unsure if this is a play on the similarly monikered droid that we all know and love), a multi-use, people-powered food processor that isn't ugly.
I’ve seen a few margarita-makin’ bicycles, but the R2B2 is peerless in its handsome looks and the number of tasks it can perform. Essentially, the concept involves a giant peddle-powered flywheel incased in a wooden box. By peddling at 400 rpm, a user can generate 350 watts of electricity per minute. This, according to Thetard, is enough juice to use one of three attachments: a coffee grinder, a hand blender, or something called a “kitchen machine” that appears to be a Cuisinart-style food processor.
These attachments would be sold separately from the main unit and could be tucked away in a nifty storage compartment within R2B2 when not in use.
With no plastic bits and pieces and absolutely no electricity required to operate, the R2B2 appears to be one lean, green food processing machine. But John Palvus over at Co.Design says not so fast:
But what about the fact that it's made of heavy wood and metal? Unless consumers go full-on Amish, hewing the planks and forging the gears themselves, simply manufacturing and shipping this thing would have significant fossil-fuel costs. And even if it still comes out on top versus plastic-and-electric appliances in a cradle-to-grave energy analysis, the overall ecological impact of using a foot-driven kitchen tool (while still running, say, an electric refrigerator) is essentially nil.