The Protean Spork is a personal project by industrial designer Kenneth Macalino. It is a camping spork that seeks to combine the versatility of a multi-tool with the aesthetic treatment of a consumer product. The Protean Spork is the ultimate eating utensil and food preparation tool in any camping situation. It improves upon the designs of many cheap plastic sporks in market with careful attention to details and ergonomics. A sensible but broad array of functions are incorporated into the final design, allowing the Protean Spork to fulfill many roles without necessary detriments to the design. The length of the spork is comfortable to hold without adding significant weight. The length of the spork is also appropriate for eating from large food packets, a popular camping commodity. The back of the spork houses a 3.5 inch blade that can both help prepare food and cut through even the toughest of camping meals. The sheath for the blade is food grade silicone that can also be used as a spatula during cooking or more situated camping trips. A hole is also present in the middle for carabiners to clip into, in addition to allowing the spork to be hang-dried. All of these functions are neatly packaged into a small but capable spork that any camper can take to venture.
Many of the sporks I examined combined a multitude of functions and versatility but drifted significantly from consumer product language. Some didn't look intuitive and some became so complex that their secondary functions handicapped the final design (the spork would become harder to clean, harder to eat with, etc). Some of the sporks I examined, like the Sea to Summit Spork, had a knife at the end of the spork. This spork worked better than I was expecting, but both the length and exposed/weaker blade suggested an opportunity to design around. Many sporks showed how can openers, bottle cap pop offs, and folding mechanisms could be incorporated into a design (some more elegantly than others). Around the time of my research, the Morsel Spork rose in popularity on kickstarter. I was inspired by its versatility and creative application of a spatula tip. Still, I wanted to craft a unique spork and looked at easing food preparation. Early ideas included storage, bottle openers, and wire cutters which were ultimately trimmed upon concept development.
At one point, I had considered a concept where the spork would split apart into a separate spoon and knife, becoming more of a cutlery set. When I worked on the prototype though, I realized that this would greatly thicken the handle in addition to adding crevices that would make the spork harder to clean. I decided to keep the spork as one piece.