Broken bike seat? Cracked cups? Don’t bin them -- Jane ní Dhulchaointigh wants you to hack them better, and she’s invented a product to help.
Sugru is a Play-Doh-like substance with waterproof, adhesive and heat-resistant qualities, and it sets at room temperature. Launched last December, all 3,000 packets rapidly sold out -- so now production is at ten times that scale. Ní Dhulchaointigh, 31, had the idea while she was at the Royal College of Art in 2003.
“I was making things with silicone sealants and sawdust, and started using the leftovers around the house,” she says at her east London base. “I modified a knife handle to make it more comfortable. My boyfriend said, 'Imagine if everyone could do that -- like with stiff jam-jar lids.' It was a great idea.” But it took seven years, two experts and the materials department at Queen Mary, University of London, to create a silicone that would be sticky but would also set rock hard without heating.
The result is a substance officially called Formerol. Each pack includes hack suggestions, though ní Dhulchaointigh has seen some original uses: "Someone sculpted a pair of hands coming out of their bathroom sink to hold the soap." This enthusiasm, she says, is down to the growth of user-generated content online. "If digital stuff can be manipulated then people are going to expect it from physical products as well."
Want to learn how to hack things better? We can tell you how.
How to 'hack things better'
This do-all putty was developed by an RCA student who wanted to improve her possessions instead of buying new ones. From leaky trainers to hard-on-the-hands tin openers, there's little that it can’t "repair with gusto", according to the site. But how does it work? Well, it’s a flexible substance that turns into tough, flexible silicone when left overnight. It’s also heat resistant, self-adhesive and dishwasher proof.
See sugru.com and the video below for inspiration.