Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Instant-Heat Straw

Hot drinks on the run
  [vote for,

I recently had the pleasure of trying out a self-heated can of coffee. Okay, well, the pleasure wasn't in the coffee itself, which was pretty nasty, but in the fact that I didn't have to do anything but break the seal, push the button, and wait 10 minutes, and I had hot coffee! Great for car, camping, etc.

But, that thing was expensive, and left a bunch of material that had to be thrown away (the can had 2 layers and all those chemicals to make the heat) and it didn't stay hot very long at all. A half hour later and I was back to cold, gross coffee.

Instead, why not heat the drink as you drink it? Instead of having to use a bulky insulated mug or chemically-heated container, just leave the drink cool and heat it just before consumption. This could be done with a heated straw.

I'm envisioning a battery-powered heating coil in a sealed unit, mounted in the upper section of an otherwise normal, if extra-thick, plastic drinking straw. An optical sensor would be placed below the heater, so when liquid is sucked up the straw, it trips the sensor which activates the heater just as the liquid reaches it, which brings the coffee or chocolate (or lemonade if you swing that way) to just the right temperature as it reaches your lips.

A thermostatic control would be included (a sliding switch on the unit itself?) to cater to different heat preferences. The mouth-end of the heater unit would contain a heat sensor ring, linked to a digital thermometer that regulates the heating coil to the correct temperature.

The regulation might not be spot on the first couple of sips, but the heater control would remember what worked last time and adjust its settings so that after a few more sips it would be just right.

This way you would have a hot drink any time of day, without the fuss of actually heating it up. Fully re-useable and dishwasher-safe! Comes in all these spectacular colors!

junglefish, Aug 26 2005

Aerogel http://stardust.jpl...v/tech/aerogel.html
This wild stuff's just aching to be used somewhere in this product [Dub, Aug 27 2005]

Similar but opposite to Ice Straw Ice_20Straw
[Dub, Aug 27 2005]

Aerogel on sale http://www.unitednuclear.com/aerogel.htm
(same site has "dangerously strong neodymium magnets" on sale) [Dub, Feb 07 2006]


It's chocolate milk...but now it's hot cocoa...but now it's chocolate milk...but now...

       sounds painful
benfrost, Aug 27 2005

       Wouldn't an optical sensor be needlessly extravagant?
fridge duck, Aug 27 2005

       The simpler, the better, I always say. What did you have in mind as an alternative, [fridge]? I was mostly concerned about wasting precious battery power and/or overheating the unit if there's no liquid in it...   

       Maybe something that heats up automatically when a fluid passes? Like two electrodes that pass a charge only when there's something between them? Or something...
junglefish, Aug 27 2005

       I like it. I've added a link for something that might be used to stop you from burning your lips too. Oh and I found something along the same lines in HB [link]
Dub, Aug 27 2005

       Sounds like a great value-add to me, Dub. We could coat the outside of the straw with that stuff. The use of space age materials is a great selling point. And it might give us an out if anyone takes us to court for lip burns.   

       "Well, your honor, we did coat that thing with aerogel, which is a space-age product. It's not our fault if the doof- I mean consumer misuses our product. I mean, look! Aerogel! All over this thing!"
junglefish, Aug 29 2005

       Coffee flavoured shaving cream, sheezzz, why didn't I think of that?
skinflaps, Aug 29 2005

       [junglefish]The accuser remained silent. His larynx was toast.
Dub, Aug 29 2005

       You're right - It was Spaceage Stuff - I just read that the stuff NASA just used to collect the debris from the comet was Aerogel :)
Dub, Jan 23 2006

       Just make sure you suck on the right end!
MikeOliver, Jan 23 2006

       You could make a cheaper low-tech version if the straw was a long pipe that went from the can and was wrapped in a spiral around a butt plug (the inside of your rectum is extremely warm) and emerged from your arse again (lagged from this point onwards) to arrive at your mouth. Put it on under your clothes in the morning and you could have warm drinks all day. At the expense of having a cold arse.
wagster, Jan 23 2006


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