• 04.30.14

High School Students Come Up With A Genius Plan For Getting Ketchup Out Of The Bottle

Give a kid a vague prompt–“it really bugs me when…”–get an awesome answer.

High School Students Come Up With A Genius Plan For Getting Ketchup Out Of The Bottle

You know what happens when you give kids the opportunity in school to do hands-on engineering projects? They come up with genius projects like this–a ketchup bottle cap that ensures the first shake after opening yields thick, tasty ketchup instead of a gross, liquid substance. Never shake your ketchup again.


Here’s the invention in action:

Created as part of a STEM school program called Project Lead the Way, high school seniors Tyler Richards and Jonathan Thompson came up with this 3-D printed bottle cap in response to the prompt “It really bugs me when…” The pair explained how the cap works to KCPT:

“It is based on the pythagorean cup idea,” Thompson said. “It’s also the same principle that toilets work off of.”

The prototype, which they made using a 3-D printer, resembles a regular cap for a squeezable ketchup bottle except for what looks like an upside down mushroom on the underside of the cap.

“Basically kind of what’s happening is that there is no way the ketchup can go through there,” Richards said, pointing to the portion resembling a mushroom top. “So (the pressure) pushes it up and over it. Then the water sits in this little basin right here and the ketchup comes out.”

Richards and Thompson estimate that they could produce the cap for 22 cents, but have no plans to parlay their invention into a business. Not to worry: a slippery coating that makes ketchup easily slide out of the bottle is in the works, and could hit the market in consumer products as early as next year.

About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more.