Behind the Scenes: Testing the Banana Bonnet

Posted ago by Baron

At the beginning of January, the Quirky staff was presented with a scientific conundrum. Inventor Laura Doty had submitted a clever product concept, dubbed the Banana Bonnet, which was designed to slow a banana’s ripening process by covering the stem with an airtight cap. This was intended to reduce the release of ethylene, a plant hormone that stimulates the formation of the enzyme amalyse, which causes bananas to ripen by breaking down starch into simple sugar. Laura had done her research prior to submission, citing a Lifehacker article that provided a DIY solution, but the Quirky Design Staff decided that they would need to see the effects for themselves before running with the concept.

To examine the effects of a bonnet first-hand, designer Aaron Saxton and Head of Community Steven Shaw opted to conduct a time-lapse experiment, which would compare the ripening speeds of capped and uncapped bananas over a two-week period. If the difference between the two groups was pronounced, the designers would have all the proof they needed to endorse the concept, and to begin crafting it into a real, consumer product.

If you made it this far, then you must be invested, so we won’t ruin the suspense with spoilers. To see the thrilling conclusion to the Banana Bonnet saga, you’ll have to check out the footage for yourself:

Comments (38)

ElizaBacon Wingfield avatar
ElizaBacon Wingfield
Time for banana bread.
jenn carter avatar
jenn carter
i like the transparency quirky ,well said well documented.
Rafael I. Hwang avatar
Rafael I. Hwang
I agree Jenn.
Unknown avatar
Unknown
Cool test! Thx for showing the video.
Brad Hines avatar
Brad Hines
Coolness.
Laura Doty avatar
Laura Doty
Thanks for doing this experiment, Quirky!
ElizaBacon Wingfield avatar
ElizaBacon Wingfield
Time for banana bread.
ElizaBacon Wingfield avatar
ElizaBacon Wingfield
Time for banana bread.
Paulette Jaques avatar
Paulette Jaques
I wish maybe if you guys tried a balloon stretched on the top...not sure it would have made a diff...
Adam Suhy avatar
Adam Suhy
I would be interest to see if anyone tried a banana part way through the week. When I keep bananas in the fridge, the starch-to-sugar conversion seems to slow, despite the skin browning faster.
Rafael I. Hwang avatar
Rafael I. Hwang
I agree Jenn.
StartingOver avatar
StartingOver
Unknown avatar
Unknown
Cool test! Thx for showing the video.
Brad Hines avatar
Brad Hines
Coolness.
Susan Saver avatar
Susan Saver
I have friends who put their bananas in a brown paperbag and put them in the fridge. I myself use the "Green Bags" it was a as seen on TV at one time, now you get 20 bags at the Dollar Store for $1. These green bags tripple the length the bananas last, as well as Spinach, Lettuce etc., It has also to do with light exposure Just my experience
Kevin Ammons avatar
Kevin Ammons
What about a reprise of the banana experiment and place one group inside a clear vacuum chamber...A storage locker for bananas, etc. where when you close the door, the air is extracted. I hypothesize those inside the chamber would age slower. kda
Laura Doty avatar
Laura Doty
Thanks for doing this experiment, Quirky!
Barbra Winston avatar
Barbra Winston
the stores in our area my actually tape the ends of the banana bunches before they sell them....I did not know why they did this but now I know... :)
Kevin Ammons avatar
Kevin Ammons
I like Susan's Light exposure suggestion, and suggest Quirky incorporate it into Operation "RipeBanana2.0". kda
SamZ avatar
SamZ
look likes a fun test to try.
Jorge  Sansivirini avatar
Jorge Sansivirini
I usually eat all my bananas before they rot. I don't buy them as table ornaments!
SEA DOG avatar
SEA DOG
Designed to keep bananas yellow and firm .If your banana remains firm for more than 5 days call a doctor immediately.
Luiz Cruz avatar
Luiz Cruz
Is more easy eat all the bananas, or buy less bananas.
ElizaBacon Wingfield avatar
ElizaBacon Wingfield
Time for banana bread.
Paulette Jaques avatar
Paulette Jaques
I wish maybe if you guys tried a balloon stretched on the top...not sure it would have made a diff...
Adam Suhy avatar
Adam Suhy
I would be interest to see if anyone tried a banana part way through the week. When I keep bananas in the fridge, the starch-to-sugar conversion seems to slow, despite the skin browning faster.
StartingOver avatar
StartingOver
StartingOver avatar
StartingOver
From the lapse images- it looks as if the stems are shrinking too? so is there not the possibility that the seal you put around the end would potentially loosen some? even a little might be enough to throw results off. Plus before the plug is finally pulled could a test be done with the bananas covered (so no light can reach them- both sets ie the test bananas and and normal ones) plus if the same could be done with refrigerated bananas too? If there is a difference in either situation- you might still have a great product!? (and perhaps I might get some influ too!)
Susan Saver avatar
Susan Saver
I have friends who put their bananas in a brown paperbag and put them in the fridge. I myself use the "Green Bags" it was a as seen on TV at one time, now you get 20 bags at the Dollar Store for $1. These green bags tripple the length the bananas last, as well as Spinach, Lettuce etc., It has also to do with light exposure Just my experience
Kevin Ammons avatar
Kevin Ammons
What about a reprise of the banana experiment and place one group inside a clear vacuum chamber...A storage locker for bananas, etc. where when you close the door, the air is extracted. I hypothesize those inside the chamber would age slower. kda
Barbra Winston avatar
Barbra Winston
the stores in our area my actually tape the ends of the banana bunches before they sell them....I did not know why they did this but now I know... :)
Kevin Ammons avatar
Kevin Ammons
I like Susan's Light exposure suggestion, and suggest Quirky incorporate it into Operation "RipeBanana2.0". kda
SamZ avatar
SamZ
look likes a fun test to try.
Jorge  Sansivirini avatar
Jorge Sansivirini
I usually eat all my bananas before they rot. I don't buy them as table ornaments!
SEA DOG avatar
SEA DOG
Designed to keep bananas yellow and firm .If your banana remains firm for more than 5 days call a doctor immediately.
Luiz Cruz avatar
Luiz Cruz
Is more easy eat all the bananas, or buy less bananas.
jenn carter avatar
jenn carter
i like the transparency quirky ,well said well documented.
StartingOver avatar
StartingOver
From the lapse images- it looks as if the stems are shrinking too? so is there not the possibility that the seal you put around the end would potentially loosen some? even a little might be enough to throw results off. Plus before the plug is finally pulled could a test be done with the bananas covered (so no light can reach them- both sets ie the test bananas and and normal ones) plus if the same could be done with refrigerated bananas too? If there is a difference in either situation- you might still have a great product!? (and perhaps I might get some influ too!)
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