The Egg Un-Boiler – the next must-have kitchen appliance?

September 22nd, 2015

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The Egg Un-Boiler

All too many of us have a small collection of single-use small appliances cluttering up our kitchen cupboard – everything from ice cream makers to bread makers, rice cookers and juicers. These appliances tend to be very useful for just a few very specific household tasks, but unless they’re being used every day, it’s all too easy to let them slide into disuse.

One new appliance that takes this super-specialised concept to its (il)logical conclusion is the Vortex Fluidic Device (VFD), better known as the “Unboil An Egg Machine” – the perfect addition to the kitchen of a fussy eater who often changes their mind about breakfast after they’ve finished cooking.

Colin Raston with the Vortex Fluidic Device - also called the 'unboil an egg' machinesource: Flinders University

This appliance, created by Professor Colin Raston of South Australia’s own Flinders University, is so absurdly, specifically useless that it was recently awarded with an Ig Nobel Prize for Chemistry. These scientific awards are organised by the magazine Annals of Improbable Research, with an editorial board consisting of 50 of eminent world scientists including several Nobel Prize winners and a convicted felon.

Yes, of course we’re joking.

(Not about the Ig Nobel Prize, though – that’s all completely true.)

Rather, this piece of scientific equipment wasn’t actually created with the goal of reversing the process of making breakfast in mind.

Here’s a quick video explaining how the VFD works:

As the VFD is capable of rearranging  protein structures, it has the potential to make a major impact on the pharmaceutical industry, boosting the potency and production rate of life-saving cancer drugs and much more.

That’s awesome!

So why do we get so hung up on this whole “un-boiling an egg” thing?

Because the concept of un-boiling an egg is just so delightfully absurd (seriously, it sounds like something the Mad Hatter would ask of Alice in Wonderland) that it perfect fulfils the IgNobel mandate of honouring achievements that make people LAUGH, and then THINK”.

To quote Professor Raston:

“It’s not what we set out to do, to unboil an egg, but it’s the way of explaining the science involved and helping the wider world realise the momentousness of it.”

“The sheer scale of this is mind boggling. The global pharmaceutical industry alone is worth $160 billion annually and the processing of proteins is central to it. The VFD is completely changing it – and is set to do the same for the fuel and food industries.”

Professor Raston went on to say that “It’s impossible to place a price on the value of this device.” So I guess we won’t be selling VFDs at Appliances Online after all, then. 🙁

Sunbeam Egg Cooker EC1300Sunbeam Egg Cooker EC1300

Well, at least you can still buy just about everything you need to boil an egg at home – we recommend using an induction cooktop to quickly and efficiently boil the water while you look over some of the odder news from the world of science and technology. Or try the pictured Sunbeam Egg Cooker if you don’t mind adding another super-specialised small appliance to your collection!

Mark joined Appliances Online in November 2011 and has since learned more than he ever expected to know about appliances. He enjoys looking for new and unusual ways for to solve everyday problems using typical household appliances. When he’s not toiling at the desks of Appliances Online and Big Brown Box, he tries to find time to write the next big bestseller and draw satirical cartoons, but is too easily distracted by TV, music and video games. Mark’s favourite appliance is the Dyson Groom Tool, as he loves the concept of vacuuming your dog. Google+

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