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WAVE is a patented cart and pantry system for modern urban living Designed by BAM.

WAVE goes beyond reuse and recycle… It renews your relationship to what you find out in the world, and how you bring it home

Photo of Evelyn Ihrke

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WAVE [US Patent # 9090276]

Is a patented cart and storage system

That goes beyond reuse and recycle… It renews your relationship to what you find out in the world, and how you bring it home.

Bring home what you want, and the full spectrum of nutrition you need, not only what you can manage to carry.

At home WAVE lets you store your food quickly- no unpacking and resorting needed… pop the basket in the refrigerator or on the racks!

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

We are prototyping a bent plywood model this week. When this is completed we will take all three [wire, collapsible, and plywood] around to Hanna’s friends- most of whom have graduated as Architects or Engineers. We will then test this in public at a street art festival.

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

DesignThinking never ends, does it? Our biggest question is how we connect with the market- people who use WAVE will undoubtedly have suggestions- but we have to get it to them first! Hanna and I have designed quite a few things [colanders, chill sticks, beverage holders etc.] to add value to the WAVE experience- but it takes a long time to prototype every good idea since we are only two people!

Tell us about your work experience:

Hanna has a degree in Architecture. Evelyn, her mother, has a degree in English Literature. We wanted to make something durable that promotes mindful connections in our communities and reduces plastic waste. To accomplish this we became a Design Studio. In trying to make connections to the market we've recently learned about Zero Waste and the circular economy- a community waiting for the WAVE!

This idea emerged from

  • An Individual

How far along is your idea?

  • It was in the works before this challenge – it’s existed for 2-6 months

Attachments (1)


The latest prototype: a bent plywood WAVE. It's waiting for the modular bent plywood basket holders that can easily manage canvas tote bags as well as the wire frame baskets. Quick release at the base lets you use the cart even if you use a car to get you there.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Hanna Ihrke

Thanks mom for covering just about everything we collaborated on- I think the one thing you didn’t illuminate so much is the accessibility issue- the idea that WAVE can help people stay mobile and help them get good nutrition by not being limited by what they can carry. The baskets have a handle that we didn’t prototype on the wire model, and the canvas bags on the bent plywood still have to be mocked up! You’re right- design thinking never ends!

Photo of Evelyn Ihrke

I’ve been following the Meta trends on the OpenIDEO Food Waste and Food Responsibility Challenge and what I’m coming away with is this: If we want to change the trajectory, we have to change the expectation first. I suppose that’s the Meta for most of life’s psychology… and you need a philosophy to initiate it- just like real life!

Here’s the place I’m at now: There are many many ideas out there for apps, and connections, and making it easier to recycle waste to energy. And they all sound hopeful- and I do, personally, hope some of them are adopted. Lots of “disruptive” (How I hate the way they use that word.) products are based on the “pain” the product hopes to alleviate. Semantically that would not be “disruptive”- that would be “innovative”. If we want to move towards a better sense of food responsibility we need to innovate and make the adoption of that idea not pain-free, but, rather, exciting, intriguing, a great big Yes! I’ve been looking for that very thing!


Here’s the thing- I believe that in places where there is an existing infrastructure of sewers and trash collection that the problem of food waste can be solved municipally. It will pay for itself because the energy recovered will be properly economical. It should also be, in my estimation, a municipal solution. Socialized energy… and lets expand that in the future to hydro and many wind power solutions. Private power grids just aren’t sucking cash away from municipalities- they literally suck because the public pays for regulation that just doesn’t happen responsibly.

In places where the infrastructure isn’t in place- Oh! Happy Day! This covers approximately 65% of the world- and those people will have energy to cook their meals, and read, and play music in a zero carbon environment! We know how to do it- we just need to start with a sound strategy. This is where NGOs in cooperation with developing industries is the exciting answer. This isn’t just a way to supply energy- it’s a way to inform the future.


Responsible movement of food, and wise use of food and time and energy needs tools. This is a universal given. If we had only our bodies to muscle through life- we would have technology at the level of what existed 2000 years ago. Animal labor, some small wells, a farm at every village of ten people. Idyllic hunter gatherers… and endless bouts of starvation. If you thinks about it in meta… we aren’t that far from that very scenario- but it’s because we have ourselves in a precarious climate situation now. The only way out is, again, infrastructure and tools. It’s going to take work, not software or computer technology alone, but actual put your back into it work. And you know what? People are going to feel better for the effort. The reason is simple. We are animals, and animals need to move.

I’m offering this cart to the world, because in the countries where there are too many cars, we need low carbon options. In the countries where there aren’t enough cars, we, yes, need low carbon options. Smile and WAVE to the WORLD! Can’t wait to share our FIELD cart next!

Photo of Angel Landeros

Hi Evelyn!  I'd love to participate with you on this.  Here in Mexico several people use carts to go to local markets, but they are a single compartment which can damage produce when you stack it in.  It should be fairly simple to balance it out to make it more stable. 
This also reminded me of one IDEO project from several years ago:

Let me know how I might help you develop this idea

Photo of Evelyn Ihrke


Haha! I had an serious Aha! moment when I saw this food responsibility OpenIDEO challenge on Twitter!

Thanks for the first link- I hadn’t seen it presented like that before. The YouTube I did see… I clearly remember it because per the NOLO Patent It Yourself Book by David Pressman (my copy is from the early 1990’s!) he said to conduct a search before you talk to a lawyer… I kinda froze when I saw IDEO had done a cart (I knew they had a great team!)… And then I kinda relaxed when I saw the YouTube because mine was still different! I think the thing with the IDEO cart concept was they were expecting to produce a cart that could not be used by the homeless, and that skewed the results. They definitely hyped the performance of already existing carts- but that ends at the parking lot! The other thing is the lifting issue- as you said, many carts expect you to put everything in one low and large space- it’s a structure that is not accessible. I wanted WAVE to work with one hand.

I remember when my two sisters and I would walk with our mother, Sue, to the grocers 5-7 blocks away… singing the whole way there… trudging the way back. The four paper bags stacked on top of each other meant that everything had to be rearranged so the lettuce and bananas didn’t squish. Bread was bought at a different store on the way back home. Eggs on top too. I figured it would be easy to make something better… Let me tell you the thinking is only 20% of the solution… Getting it into the hands of the people who can really use it well is the tough part. Tenacity. Shout-out to Eric Maisel and his concept of productive obsessions… it’s been a long two years since I read that!

Glad you are on the Team! My intuition was that you have great intuition skills! We can do this!So happy to have made connections to a thought leader tribe here- so perfectly IDEO!

Much Gratitude,

Photo of Mitul Sarkar

I see you got my friend Kate on your team :-)
A few quick questions re Wave's design:
1. center of gravity when the top shelf is full? Risk of toppling over?
2. ease with which it'll fit into your car trunk, along with the groceries, etc? That's not a concern if one walks to the grocery store, but most in USA cannot. 
3. Can you think of how it (or a special version of it) might be marketed to businesses that have use for carts? 
Good luck!

Photo of Evelyn Ihrke


Our prototype is indeed a little top heavy. We have already contacted a local MFG in Buffalo and have made CAD drawings to their welding specs which are more accurate than our homemade (literally: in my living room) hand bent design. When the WAVE is produced it will be a bit more vertical- by a few inches! The baskets will still be easily accessed on all sides.

Our bent plywood design (In the attachment portion at the bottom of this story) has tested out as secure with the metal baskets, and we are in the midst of designing canvas baskets that use much less metal.
Wire version of baskets are incredibly expensive and although they will last 100 years- maybe people don’t need so much of an over-build.

Our earlier prototypes include several collapsible versions that collapse to below the height of the 8” wheels. However, these versions work best when we include a quick release mechanism that holds both the baskets and the cart structure. That quick release is a custom part, requiring some investment, that the rigid version will help to pay for. We went rigid first because, in general, if you are going to use a cart reliability is more important than anything. A rigid cart also speaks more directly to the cart being a “pantry cart” a created space where you can just park your groceries- no unpacking. This is great for small urban apartments where the addition of fixtures is not allowed.

The bent plywood version has two standard quick releases at the base and it does indeed break down into two parts which would fit in most cars- both parts generally form a plane.

Our patent addresses several revenue streams- and yes- Grocers could use the carts in the shop, as well as the baskets and racks to sell bulk goods. You could conceivably buy a whole basket of apples and just attach it to your cart. This is a good way to get more baskets! It is also nestable,and takes up very little floor space.
Another thing Grocers like is that people can buy and use their own carts- no more stealing a $300 cart for something too heavy or onerous to lift and carry. Since making the plywood model we started thinking the wire version would be great for stores, the plywood for people- but separate badging would work too.

Another option is to use the cart as a mobile office and organizer. Client’s projects could be organized with all necessary mixed media in one space. Meaning, paper, data, fabric and color swatches, models, etc. all in one space. Most school teachers i have showed this to wish they had in in going from class to class. People in industry and production have wanted it to move parts to the perfect spot during assemblies. It’s hackable!

Kate is great on research and concepts- She’s awesome!

Evelyn (self identified cart obsessive)
But really- it’s a great tool!

Photo of Emily Gaddis


If you go on a tour with WAVE carts, I'd like to invite you to do an event at #WasteLess market! looking forward to seeing the bent plywood version. 

Photo of vivo smaertcell

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Photo of Evelyn Ihrke

It's interesting that you linked to pictures of Ganesha- I have made drawings of this beautiful image... but what does it have to do with food, other than the bread and nuts for the mouse? Are you psychic, because my favorite drawing of Ganesha is him writing a book- and that's what my creation process is like.
Otherwise, I'm sorry , but I do not understand your post.

Photo of Evelyn Ihrke

I put a post up on relating to what I've mulled over from here, and the Meta process as I see it of turning food into energy.
What I'm concerned about in terms of Meta is that all these small fixes need to fit into a much broader scheme of using less petrol, keeping nutritional values high, and being mindful of balancing the ecologic system- so that we don’t add to the waste water dilemma.
If we aren’t seeking out Meta then all we are accomplishing is coping. And coping at an individual or community level takes more energy and thought for people to maintain it- unless they have the right tools.
I came up with the idea of WAVE to give people a tool to get to the store and back loaded with nutritional options. It is designed to mitigate energy consumption and be a net positive. I see it as a tool that seeks a Meta Paradigm Change:

People moving more than cars!

People in dialogue with their communities… visiting more Farmer’s Markets!

People parking their purchases and not wasting a moment unpacking.

I'm really excited about our plywood prototype build- it will be ready within the week! Of course, I will post photos of it!

Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Evelyn! Thank you for telling us about WAVE. I can't wait to see how your idea develops. 

Will you use some of the principles mentioned in Anuj Prajapati 's research post (see below) to extend the life of the food items?

Photo of Evelyn Ihrke

Hi Kate!

At present we have a rack system that can save a lot of floor space by allowing bags or baskets to be hung with hooks or, shelves could be set across the racks. Boogie boards work great! The basket inserts would help in temperature and humidity control, and, to help deter pests. We've got a couple drawings using bent plywood and canvas as baskets- hinged and solid wood lids for the baskets was something we literally drew up on Saturday while we were bending the next cart handle and frame!

The prototype we have in the photo is of very lightweight polypropylene. We like it because of its ability to naturally hinge allowing for a flexible lid. It moves great onto the racks, or, into the fridge where it becomes an instant crisper. However, it is a plastic...

Anuj's miniature apple and potato keeper is pretty sweet. I actually use a potato bin my Dza built about sixty years ago! A bin would be a great add-on to a custom shelf system!

It’s interesting to think of preserving food in simulated environments, like the sand and humidity in Anuj’s example. A while back I was very interested building a wall of plants with the racks and baskets. It’s definitely something someone could easily hack with the WAVE. I’m happy to see there is a broadening cultural conversation about the limits of refrigeration, and a continuing dialogue with time tested methods for maintaining the best nutrition.

Thanks for asking this question- I learned how to post! So incredibly happy I saw the IDEO tweet today! All the new possibilities!