Teenager whizzes invent a ‘thermo-electric spoon that heats up the food on the go

Tania Yolotzin, Andrea Moreno, Maria Caudillo and Cinthia Padilla.

( Baverstock)

MEXICO CITY – A team of teenage Mexican students come up with an invention that is turning a few heads: an electronic spoon heats your meal a tablespoon at a time – or reheats all in one go if you choose to stir.

hey hope their innovation can provide a convenient solution for hungry consumers are on the road.

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( Baverstock)


The PoliCuchara (PolySpoon), designed as part of their first year of Creative Development course at Mexico’s National Polytechnic Institute, won the first prize in a national innovation fair last week, and already has a patent of the school.

Equipped with three 9-volt batteries in the wooden handle, the spoon, the ladle goes up to 140 F, enough to heat a meal, but not enough to burn the user.


The new and innovative tool is a hungry consumer of heat something soup, rice, pasta and other bite-sized pieces of food in the time it takes for a microwave to perform the same task.

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“We came up with the idea while riding the Mexico City,” said Maria Caudillo, 15, the youngest of the four-girl team, which is the electrical engineering studies allowed the idea to become reality in just two months of twice a week lessons.

“So many commuters to bring food with them on public transport, but must wait until they reach a place with a microwave or they want a hot meal,” she said “The idea for a thermo-electric spoon seemed obvious to us.”

“A microwave focus energy on heating of water molecules, which leaves the food soggy, and besides that, they are not always available,” said Andrea Moreno, 17, who is of the opinion that the product could become a bestseller in Mexico. “We wanted to design something portable that would provide reliable results.”


The spoon has a heat setting and users can choose between heating their meal completely ready for the food, or the warming of the earth, each individual bite as they go. The batteries can be up to a month of daily use twice a day.

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“We have the product to the streets and the people that we interviewed thought it was great,” said Cinthia Padilla, 16, who discovered in the course of her inquest that about half of the Mexicans to take home-made packed lunches to school or work, the majority in a Tupperware-style containers.


“We were very encouraged by our market research, and with a few changes that we hope to be able to sell PolyCuchara in the trade soon,” she told “It would be great to see that people with an invention of us in their daily lives.”


With the help of the college and a few modernization modifications to the spoon, the girls are hoping to PolySpoon to the Mexican market in mid-2017 to retail at $10 per piece. The production costs are only € 3.50 per unit.


“We have to install a rechargeable battery and make it look a little neater, but we believe that the appeal in the Mexican society and that it will sell,” said Tania Yolotzin, 17, that the design of the new product logo. “Babies, hospitals, office -, school-children; there are plenty of potential users.”

“It can even be used as a hair curler when the user is done with food,” she joked. “It is designed by the Mexicans, the Mexicans in the back of my mind.”

“I’m very proud of the students,” said their teacher, Maria Rivera, who had encouraged the 22 teams in her class to solve problems that they encounter in their daily life. “It is a good omen for their future that they already have this national recognition for their work, and after less than a semester at the college.”

Other teams in the girls class came in with a blow-wave operated system, aromatherapy-infused pet toys and a walking stick that allows users to answer phone calls hands-free via Bluetooth, preventing loss of balance while fumbling in pockets to find the phone.

The National Polytechnic Institute, Mexican state-run trade school for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, has a long history of innovation and invention.

The institute is responsible for the color of television, weight-loss, chocolate, air-cleaning lamp and a phone charger that uses the kinetic energy of the knee movement to fill a mobile phone battery.

“We have many more ideas for innovative products,” said Andrea Moreno, “but they will be surprises. For the moment it is very satisfying to put all our energy into this to see how far it can go.”

Alasdair Baverstock is a freelance writer based in Mexico.

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