“Honey, could you pedal up some whipped cream, and I’ll stomp out some ground coffee?”
Only in Christoph Thetard’s compact, ultramodern kitchen is this a logical question. Thetard has developed a totally electricity-free, mechanical solution for grinding coffee and blending and mixing food. Hidden in the kitchen countertop’s interior is a flywheel activated by a foot pedal. The flywheel turns, generating power for the appliances. A small gearbox on the front of R2B2 – as the system is called – allows users to change the output speed for the appliances: fast, moderate or slow. The flywheel is capable of storing enough energy to power the appliances without pedalling – at least, for about a minute – making it possible to switch legs when cramps set in.
Thetard created R2B2 as an academic project, supported by SKF, during his time at Bauhaus University in Weimar, Germany. The goal was to create a working kitchen appliance that did not require electricity, and he chose a grinder/blender/mixer because those are among the most commonly used pieces of equipment. R2B2 includes a number of blades, beaters and other accessories in order to perform a variety of tasks.
R2B2 is built to last, with components made of polished or sandblasted stainless steel, oiled wood, glass and ceramics. The drive belts are made of silicone, and says Thetard, the sprocket doesn’t need lubrication.