A fork has two states. So too does a spoon. but a spork? a spork has three. What does this mean?
Consider sporks are not good spoons, and are even worse forks. Just like a flying car is not a good car and not a good plane. Previous attempts to redefine the spork focus on optimizing the geometry of a fork-spoon union, but what if instead we tried to optimize the spork in a different way.
I think a spoon and fork each has two states: in use and at rest. A spork has three: in use as a spoon, in use as a fork, and at rest. I think the ideal solution should focus in the transition between rest to fork use, and rest to spoon use. As a spork doesn’t usually have to at once be both a spoon and fork, it just has to be either.
A solution is to adapt 4D printing practices to the utensil space. 4D printing is a way of varying parameters during 3D printing so the final print is flat, but when surrounded by a heated environment, the object can gain permanent 3D geometry. The image at the top illustrates some flat geometry, and their heated final 3d shapes.
Now imagine a flat utensil resembling a fork, but with a rounded body. Like the silhouette of a spoon with the tines of a fork
When used in most fork applications, the object would remain in its original shape, able to function well in a fork-like way!
But, when the utensil has to serve in the form of a spoon, it gains concavity. This could happen in one of two ways; if the food to be eaten is a warm liquid like soup, the flat utensil could be submerged in the liquid, and the concavity of a spoon would quickly appear. If the food to be eaten isn’t a liquid or is not hot, the user could place the flat form spork in their mouth for short duration, activating the concave geometry.
All that said, creating a sturdy flat-pack 4D printed spork with low activation temperatures and is food safe is way more complex and less defined than a traditional injection molded spork, but I think a morphing spork is way more interesting :)