And it was good. (See 26-second YouTube review, below.)
The Sputnik-esque stove converts the energy of any post-disaster carbon-based material — paper, leaves, cardboard, grass, wood shards — into a USB-port power source while boiling water in minutes. Yes, you can have your coffee and call home too, thanks to an ingenious copper conductor-fan system that kicks in when heated and then turbo-charges the tiny fire into a flame as good as if you're cooking with gas.
The brilliance of this design was not lost on residents of Lower Manhattan who were plunged into cold, damp darkness for days after Hurricane Sandy struck in October 2012.
The young Brooklyn inventors rushed to the rescue with stoves for stranded people who needed a hot drink, social interaction, a way to call family. Emergency services didn't take too kindly to open fires during the chaos and so the BioLites were banned.
We first spotted the gizmo a month after the area was ravaged, in a New York Times article and made it our Christmas present. Good design endures; now Mountain Equipment Co-op carries it.
The rough-hewn angled dovetail joinery, used in various forms in traditional building around the world, succeeds in all aspects of good design. This settler cabin used local, renewable materials, and simple tools and easily-learned methods. The undeniable beauty of those checked cross-sections of silvered lumber, enhanced by age and the elements, is made possible through the collective creative process.
This beauty (right) in the Saskatoon airport departure lounge does the trick. A motion sensor triggers the water to flow while a counter shows how many plastic bottles were not used in the process.