Good Thinking

Oncle Sam popcorn machine pops one piece at a time

Oncle Sam popcorn machine pops...
The Oncle Sam popcorn machine (Photo: ECAL/Nicolas Genta)
The Oncle Sam popcorn machine (Photo: ECAL/Nicolas Genta)
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The Oncle Sam popcorn machine (Photo: ECAL/Nicolas Genta)
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The Oncle Sam popcorn machine (Photo: ECAL/Nicolas Genta)
Oncle Sam is part of ECAL’s Low-Tech Factory exposition (Photo: ECAL/Nicolas Genta)
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Oncle Sam is part of ECAL’s Low-Tech Factory exposition (Photo: ECAL/Nicolas Genta)
Oncle Sam utilizes a tea-light candle to heat a grain of corn and once duly popped, salt is also added for flavor (Photo: ECAL/Nicolas Genta)
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Oncle Sam utilizes a tea-light candle to heat a grain of corn and once duly popped, salt is also added for flavor (Photo: ECAL/Nicolas Genta)
Oncle Sam uses a tea-light candle to pop one popcorn at a time
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Oncle Sam uses a tea-light candle to pop one popcorn at a time
The contraption was created for ECAL’s Low-Tech Factory exposition
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The contraption was created for ECAL’s Low-Tech Factory exposition

Oncle Sam is a popcorn machine art installation which focuses on popping corn one kernel at a time, allowing the user to partake of a tasty snack without consuming too many calories.

The leisurely popcorn machine utilizes a tea-light candle to heat a single grain of corn. Once duly popped, salt is also added for flavor. Each step of the process is performed with low-tech levers and pulleys, and produces just one finished popcorn at a time, perhaps increasing the appreciation of flavor as a result.

The contraption was created for ECAL’s Low-Tech Factory exposition
The contraption was created for ECAL’s Low-Tech Factory exposition

Oncle Sam was created by Ecole cantonale d'art de Lausanne (ECAL) students Laurent Beirnaert, Pierre Bouvier, and Paul Tubiana for ECAL’s Low-Tech Factory exposition – the same project which was home to the Rocking-Knit Chair.

This short promo video demonstrates Oncle Sam popping corn.

Source: ECAL, via designboom

ECAL Low-Tech Factory/Oncle Sam

6 comments
Slowburn
It solves the 'I have to finish off the bowl' problem.
Richard Handel
Humm? Is it me? Or does this sound like another stupid dieting gimmick? I have always, and my family & friends eat pop corn bye the 'hand's' full, The only time I/we eat them one at a time is when your at the bottom of the cup, and that's to sort out the uncooked corn pieces that can break your teeth PS;; how would this work when where at the movie theatres ? Again:: who out there eats one piece at a time????
Riaanh
Love it, these students are really creative. With the advent of electronic control systems I feel that we are losing some of the pure mechanical skills which were so strong in the 19th Century.
Amanullah Rana
one corn at a time, when i'll be able to eat a bowl full of pop corn? in 2022?
kellory
It would be more interesting, at least, if it was automated by a sterling engine. both could be run of the same candle, and it consumes no fuel except heat. With a band spring, a few cogs and levers, you could have a machine that would deliver one piece at a time, at a steady pace, without needing further input.
Gregg Eshelman
Reminds me of Val Kilmer in "Real Genius".