Energy in the Air: An Interview with AeroShot Creator David Edwards
If we were to imagine the food of the future, it would probably look something like the creations of Harvard professor David Edwards. What if instead of getting your morning caffeine fix by downing a cup of joe, you took it from the air? What if instead of swallowing chocolate, you could waft it, or if scoops of ice cream came in their own edible packaging? These innovative food products already exist from Edwards’ cultural venture ArtScience Labs — they are called, respectively, the AeroShot™, Le Whif, and WikiCells.
Edwards’ food-science innovations are headed in a very different direction than former novelties of food processing like imperishable Twinkies and glow-in-the-dark gummy worms. A major advantage of the airborne nutritional systems Edwards has designed is their healthfulness; there are no extra calories, no unnecessary material, and the food itself remains unaltered. These designs are practical, clean, and elegantly simple — tailored well to modern lifestyles.
The AeroShot™, the first of Edwards’ products to be marketed on a mass scale, is designed to deliver 100 mg of caffeine (equivalent to one shot of espresso) and B vitamins via an airbased shot. One AeroShot™ can be used four to six times. The technology — an aerosol delivery system for food and nutrients — was first developed by Edwards for insulin.
GALO spoke to Edwards about the AeroShot™ and the future of this “aerofood” technology.
GALO: It is tempting to see you as a digital-era Willy Wonka, playing with edible flights of fancy and fantastic culinary innovations. But where does the AeroShot™ have real, practical advantages over coffee or energy drinks?
David Edwards: There are several benefits to delivering caffeine to the air. Just to preface what I’m about to say: since we began in the western world to explore and consume caffeine products and coffee, just in the last few hundred years there’s been a greater diversification of the ways we consume caffeine-based products, and this diversification is really a reflection of the complex and interesting ways we live our lives.
Now specifically about the AeroShot™: number one, I’m able to very quickly, anywhere, pull out of my pocket an aerosol device that is used to deliver my caffeine experience quickly and with almost no material in my caffeine. There are no calories and there’s no liquid, so I’m not using up the very little water we have in the world. Nevertheless, I receive the boost of a strong espresso, 100 mg of caffeine. It’s practical and very convenient. It actually goes with me into parts of my life where coffee or an energy drink could not, so I could run with it or sit in a cab with it. It’s suited to a contemporary life. Secondly, it’s really good for your health. The AeroShot™ delivers something that our bodies actually react well to, but more than that it’s allowing us to control what we take. What is happening when we’re taking that strong coffee, or many energy drinks, is that we’re actually overdosing or giving ourselves way more caffeine than we need to make the effect last longer [until the next opportunity for caffeine intake]. We end up with a lot of caffeine that’s hurting our bodies just to get the effect to last long enough. Once the caffeine goes above a certain level, you begin to get secondary effects and side effects and all kinds of things happen — that’s not good. It’s generally thought that over 400 mg a day is not good. So, with something that you can carry in your pocket, you take a draw and you put it back in your pocket, and that gives you some energy. Then if you need it again, you take it out and you take another puff. So you’re never needing to go way high in caffeine — you take just what you need, when you need it. The AeroShot™ is healthy, it’s practical, and actually, it will become quite inexpensive as we play out [over the next few months].
GALO: Why include the three vitamin Bs?
DW: That’s kind of the trigger. Vitamin Bs are associated with alertness and it was a clear decision on my part to position this first product in the energy drink category. Energy drinks generally have a combination of vitamin Bs and caffeine; it’s just a better way of receiving the caffeine.
GALO: The AeroShot™ comes in lime, raspberry, and green apple flavors. But what if I rather like the taste of coffee?
DW: In the coming months, you’re going to see a much bigger diversification of the AeroShot™. We are working on multiple coffees, and we will be, in the New Year, launching reloadable forms of our AeroShot™. Edible capsules and coffee [flavors] will be a part of those products.
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