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PenstiX: Portable, Eco-friendly Chopsticks

Looks like a pen, feels like a pen, but you say that they’re chopsticks? Yes, indeed!

We’ve covered chopstick design a bit before here on AC when we posted about the design of an aerodynamics-inspired pair of titanium chopsticks, the Aero Ti. But they are just as portable as a normal pair of chopsticks. Granted, chopsticks are not bulky by any means, but what if you want something that can fit into a pocket or purse?

In addition to the Aero Ti, I have a pair of portable, stainless steel chopsticks. Each stick consists of two pieces that are joined by way of a threaded shaft on one part and a matching hole on the other. So, they break down to half the normal stick length and fit into a metal carrying case. Pretty slick. But what if you want something even more compact and maybe a bit stealthy?

Collapsible sticks lock into place when extended (Credit: Yuan Design)

Collapsible sticks lock into place when extended (Credit: Yuan Design)

Enter the PenstiX. It combines several clever design elements to achieve portability, ease of use, and a covert appearance when packed away. First, in order to be as small as possible, the PenstiX are collapsible in three sections, which makes them pretty tiny when not in use. Extend each stick and they click into place to avoid accidental collapse while eating.

The collapsible sections come apart for easy cleaning (Credit: Yuan Design)

The collapsible sections come apart for easy cleaning (Credit: Yuan Design)

Now, when you hear the word collapsible, you may be thinking, but won’t that get full of food bits and cruft? How do you clean it? That was the first thing that popped into my head. Well, fear not, the sections of the PenstiX are able to completely separate from each other for easy cleaning.

PenstiX come with their own chopstick rest (Credit: Yuan Design)

PenstiX come with their own chopstick rest (Credit: Yuan Design)

The next interesting design element is that the PenstiX include a chopstick rest, a cylindrical one to match the shape of the sticks. So, isn’t that going to roll around? Ah, yes, it probably would if it wasn’t designed well. Rather than putting an unsightly flat spot on it or nubs for stability, the PenstiX rest has an internal counterweight. The counterweight keeps the rest oriented properly, with the saddle facing upward, and stays where you put it.

It all goes together into one compact pen-like package (Credit: Yuan Design)

It all goes together into one compact pen-like package (Credit: Yuan Design)

Finally, the design element that brings it all together is the way the PenstiX pack up. After collapsing the sticks, each one is attached to the ends of the chopstick holder. The result is what appears to be nothing more than an elegant metallic-bodied writing instrument. Hence the name.

So, what’s with the eco-friendly bit? The folks at Yuan Design who are running the Indiegogo project to create the PenstiX want to raise awareness of the waste that occurs with disposable chopsticks. According to their project page, over 80 billion disposable chopsticks are used and thrown away each year. That is a lot of wood. Thus, with the ultra compact and stylish nature of the PenstiX, more people will be able to take and use their own chopsticks rather than waste more wood.

What do you think of the PenstiX? If you’d like to get your hands on them, check out the project now through August 22, 2014 on Indiegogo.

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