Sep 27, 2005

One cool idea

I thought of writing a post on the supposedly most private 6-page e-mail read by over a million (atleast) in full, but, it is very depressing to look at it from a personal perspective. So, I would rather write something else.

Once I visited 3M, Bangalore and it was quite an inspiring visit. I listened a lot on ‘ideas’ and how with apparently simple ideas some nobodies became millionaires. I thought, whether or not monetary, I can keep thinking of some ideas just for the kick of it. One such post was the “gym-workout”. Now, another ‘cool’ idea..

This is about the ice cubes that we often use. Their use? To cool drinks. If you want them to make the drinks cool fast, they should melt fast. If you want them to just keep floating around, you can make them melt slow. I am more interested in the first category, which would be useful for hot countries like India, where you want some rapid way to chill. I haven’t seen any other shaped ice cubes, and haven’t googled to find any such thing. This idea is atleast 6 years old.

Now, little bit about the science of melting. (If you don’t want to hear some science funda, plz. jump to the next para.) More the surface area of the solid ice, faster it would dissolve. So, for a given volume (and hence the weight) of ice, a spherical form has the lowest surface area. Next comes a cube, followed by rectangle, triangle, oval-shape, etc. If you make the surface very irregular, like a flat disk with lots of protrusions (imagine Vicks keech keech.. animated bacteria) but if it is too rough like that, it would tear the mouth.. So, ideally, you would like to have something optimum.

What stuck me as a simple design for fast melting was a smooth more-wavy pea-pod shaped blocks, or simply, even a simple oval shaped one. Apart from these, I can think of quite a few designs which would be quite interesting:

Heart – (Dialogue vudalam: Indha heart drinks-le karaiyara madhiri ennoda heart unnai parthadhum karaiyudhu)

Lips – (Drinks mele float pannittu irundha parka eppadi irukkum)

For the kids, fun to have some simple shapes which they love, such as a fish, boat and teddy.

All it requires is a suitable plastic mould of the desired shape.. must be a jujubi with the current technology.


tt_giant said...

"Cool" one Raju!. Actually, a special art form called ICE SCULPTURES exists and specialized sculptors carve out various shapes on a big block of ice. But it stops right there. As far as I know, the ice sculptures are not used for drinks. Maybe the idea can be extended to include yours too.

Some points:
1. The glass has to be transparent. Meaning, it cannot be used in soda machines in McDonalads/Taco bell.

2. It would also help if the liquid is clear too.

3. Also, to appreciate the shape, it would be best if the glass is wide mouthed and only if few cubes are used in it.

Liked the heart shaped ice cube imagination!!

Narayanan Venkitu said...

Very nice idea.!!

Like TT_G said, I am impressed with your imagination of the heart shaped cubes.!!!

Any ideas to make kids eat good food..and not junk?

Raju said...

Deepak, thanks.. Interesting to know about the 'ice sculptures'. Your points are well-taken. But, about the liquid being clear, since the ice blocks are going to be anyway floating, would it matter that much as the glass being transparent?

Narayanan, thanks. Well, these various shaped ice blocks can be put on apple/mango/orange juice prepared fresh at home. I myself hardly take carbonated drinks (except in some weekend parties).

To think on kids, it is surprising that, though they have the habit of putting anything they see in their mouth at very small age, when they become 4+ years, they hate eating, and, after a few years, again love eating.. I am sure most of us would have done that (mom scaring us about some bootham and making us eat). Something needs to be done for the intermediate years in a psychological way.. Let me put some thought into it.

Nag said...

again u r out with an interesting thought. Don't you think along with more surface area, more gaps inside the cubes(may be a direct hole from this end to the other) which can be can come in contact with sourroundings, and lot of air filled gaps(like foam)inside will help it to melt fast hence the fast cooling.

Raju said...

Yeah Nag, sounds interesting for sure..but, how are you going to make those pores in a simple plastic mould? And, each block from the mould can give only one block of ice, right?

Me too said...

Interesting post! In our hot Chennai, I remember the competition in our house to open the freezer to take out the ice cubes to chill 'thanni'. But now, I always yell 'no ice, no ice' when I order cold drinks!!

Raju said...

Yeah Aps, I remember for lemon juice and rasna, there was always huge demand for ice in summer when lots of relatives visit home. And in restaurants over here, I always order "Water without ice plz" and I get that "unique look" on the waitress' face.

Ram.C said...

Good that you ignored the shameful 6-pg episode and concentrated on something else, interesting to others..

good one.. naakula ecchi uurthu, ippo eankku..

Nitin said...

heh. yeah. i have always wondered why do everyone always go for the ice at mcdonalds, burgerking everywhere. my point is you put ice so that its cold, but the drink comes out cold from the machine, and you get more of the drink by not putting ice. heh, i remember the same thing that George Costanza said in an episode from sEinfeld.

Raju said...

Ram, yeah, after the dud the episode turned out to be, I am glad i didnt write about it.

Nitin, ice melts, becomes water and dilutes any drink.. anyway, people here drink sooo cold, i can never do that. Floridans do it all the time, wondering whether others in the NE also do the same..

Me too said...

In NE too. I think the whole of US can have anything ice-cold any time of year. Kind of like how we have everything 'chooda chooda' when it is summer allround the year in TN!!!

Raju said...

Mmm.. may be in Alaska too.. Your comparison with we wanting to eat always 'chuda chuda' is apt.