In a recent TED talk, sustainability strategist Leyla Acaroglu explained that the amount of energy wasted heating over-filled kettles in one day is enough to power all the streetlights in England for a night.
Pretty incredible, right? It was actually this comment that served as the inspiration for the MIITO induction-powered tea kettle. When we wrote about this highly efficient little gizmo last year, it was still in the design phase. Last week, however, the folks behind the MIITTO launched a Kickstarter campaign to finally bring this sustainable kettle to market, and it's already doubled its initial funding goal.
So how exactly does the MIITO work? Pretty much like any other induction cooktop, but with one major design change: It includes a detachable magnetic rod that serves as the sole heating element. This allows you to use a variety of mugs, bowls, and cups as heating vessels. And because induction technology is so efficient—delivering 80-90 percent of its energy, compared to only 38 percent with gas burners—it can boil water a heck of a lot faster than other methods.
Also, because you can place pretty much any heat-resistant vessel on the cooking surface (although magnetic materials would be redundant and dangerous to touch), there's no need to boil more water than necessary; just heat the water directly in your tea cup! Warm up some soup right in the bowl without the need for a microwave. The same goes for hot cocoa, tomato sauce, coffee... The list goes on.
The rod itself is dishwasher-safe, and the base can be wiped off with a damp cloth. Induction technology means it's safe to the touch—even when liquid is heating up—so it's a great option for households with kids... Just make sure they don't knock over a cup of boiling hot water.
From the looks of it, the MIITO is also pretty easy to use. There's one button that turns the device on, and it automatically shuts off once the liquid boils. The downside to that simplicity means you can't set the MIITO to automatically heat something to a lower temperature, but then... you can't exactly do that with a traditional kettle, either.
Like induction ovens, it doesn't look like the MIITO is going to be all that cheap. Of course, at this point we have no idea what it would cost in stores (assuming it even reaches mass-market production). Now that the "early bird" Kickstarter period is over, the cheapest way to get one is to invest €90, which is just a hair over $100. Regardless, it looks like MIITO's won't be shipping until April of next year.
The campaign currently has 25 days to go, and has already raised more than $309,000 on its initial goal of $167,383.