Last month, GE’s FirstBuild launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise $150,000 for its new product, the Opal Nugget Ice Maker. The project quickly surpassed its initial goal and crossed the $1.3 million threshold within days of its crowdfunding debut. Now, with just two weeks left, the device has secured over $2 million thanks to 4,800 backers.
The ice maker works by packing together small ice crystals, creating nuggets of soft yet crunchy ice in 15 minutes. Nugget ice chills beverages faster than conventional ice cubes. The air pockets in each nugget also absorb the flavor of the drink while cooling, leaving a chewable and tasty refreshment for those who enjoy snacking on ice after they have finished their drink.
Early bird pricing began around $399 or less, with future retail pricing expected at $499. The ice maker will be shipped to Indiegogo backers in mid-2016.
During a recent update, the FirstBuild’s Taylor Dawson announced more details about Opal’s R&D progress:
“We’re in the midst of finalizing the design of the Opal Nugget Ice Maker, and I wanted to share an update on our progress. First, a bit of insight into how Opal makes soft and chewable nuggets of ice. Opal works by packing together small ice crystals, creating nuggets of soft yet crunchy ice. This process creates air pockets in each nugget that also absorb the flavor of the drink. Check out the schematic that the engineering team prepared to demonstrate how this process works.
“Second, I wanted to tell you how we go about evaluating whether our soft nuggets of ice will meet your expectations. Tomas, one of our dedicated Opal Nugget Ice engineers, developed an ingenious way of testing ice softness. By building the pneumatic force tester in the video, Tomas is able to measure the amount of pressure required to break through a single nugget. We have compared this measurement against nugget ice coming from a variety of sources, and we found that our ice is very similar in softness to some of our favorite places. Stay tuned for more updates, and thanks for being one of our supporters.”
Check out the Opal crushing nuggets in slow motion below.
The campaign is set to close at the end of August.
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