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Monday, September 10, 2007

an elegant solution

the coconut machine

In my previous life I worked in design research, obsessively trying to devise elegant solutions to complex problems. Old habits die hard, so it makes me happy every time I come across an elegant solution, especially in an unexpected place like in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico. Ok, this wasn't exactly as elegant a solution as the fly-in-the-urinal at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam* but it's pretty darn good.

I'm talking about a simple coconut cart I found in a strip mall just outside of San Jose last week. They sell coconut meat and coconut water. Instead of using a clunky and often unhygienic machete to lop off the top of a coconut to get to the sweet water inside, this little cart presents a lovely solution to the mess. The cart comes equipped with a lever and a sort of probe. Place a coconut under it, pull the lever, the probe goes in and drills a hole, with ease to boot. Take the coconut, invert it over this thingy that drains the water into a machine that instantaneously cools it. Now the refreshing coconut water can be poured and sold by the glass or in liter bottles. Brilliant. Just brilliant.


I did a little googling and found the company's website. It looks to my -no habla espanol- eyes that it's a homegrown technology, which is even more impressive. I wonder how much it cost to get one of these for my kitchen?


*How elegant a solution was that fly in the urinal in Amsterdam? You decide. The airport had problems with jetlagged male travelers in the boys room who often have imprecise aim, hence the mess and stink, so they painted a tromp l'oeil of a fly inside each urinal. Boy sees fly, boy -instinctively I am told- aims for fly. Problem solved. How elegant is that?


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