Reinventing the cardboard box: simplicity, innovation and a viral video

Rapid Packing Box

Rapid Packing Box

It’s one thing when a video goes viral for a few minutes of fame and then disappears into the ether of the Internet; it’s quite another when that video has the ability to change an every-day object used by people all over the world. At this year’s PSFK Conference, the two students behind the Rapid Packing Container, gave a physical demonstration of their new design for the cardboard box — an idea that’s won them fans all over the world.

Chris Curro and Henry Wang, from the Albert Nerken School of Engineering, decided to do something about cardboard boxes and the waste that’s created when they’re used to transport packages. Their Rapid Packing Container is a re-think of the cardboard box that aims to make it easier to open, easier to seal, and easier to re-use. It has less waste, doesn’t require scissors or a knife to open, and is much kinder to the environment.

The duo won the US$5000 grand prize at last year’s first-ever Invention Factory, which is a competition run among students to design and prototype a potentially-patentable invention over six weeks during the US summer.

The video the two students created was actually made to help Curro and Wang find funding to be able to develop the idea further and manufacture the prototype. Posting it to Reddit, the video gathered over 2 000 comments, and judging from the reactions at PSFK, it’s an idea that has got many people excited about a new way to think about cardboard.

In posting the video, Curro and Wang have received feedback that’s helped them look at potential problems, and figure out ways to make the Rapid Packing Container more robust. Everyone from airline employees, Fed Ex package handlers and UPS delivery drivers have had something to say about their design — expressing skepticism about how the product would handle the rigors of real-world shipping. An employee from the Packaging Science Dynamics Lab at RIT has even offered to provide testing facilities.

If the tenacious duo has its way, it won’t be long before we’re all using this new cardboard alternative, and seeing the benefit to viral videos – beyond their few minutes of Internet fame.

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