“The USB Beverage Chiller, from CoolIT Systems of Calgary, Alberta, was designed to spare white-collar workers the irritation of wasted caffeine. The device, which can draw power from most any PC or Macintosh, is sort of a reverse hot plate, as well as CoolIT’s answer to the multitude of USB drink warmers beloved by coffee-craving geeks,” Brendan I. Koerner reports for The New York Times.
Koerner reports, “The chiller was inspired by a throwaway joke heard last summer as CoolIT’s executives pondered the nature of their business: building hardware that prevents high-performance computers from melting down. ‘Somebody said, ‘It’s a shame that our coolers don’t chill beer, because we’d make a lot more money,’ said Geoff Lyon, the company’s chief executive. We all had a good laugh about that one.'”
Koerner reports, “But CoolIT’s chief technology officer, Sandy Scott, treated the remark as a challenge rather than a gag. He went home that night and built a crude prototype that could, indeed, preserve a beer’s drinkability on a hot day — just a heat-absorbing box outfitted with a fan and powered by a USB cord. ‘He came in the next morning, plugged it into my desktop, and said, ‘There’s your beer cooler,’’ Mr. Lyon said.”
“What started as a joke soon became a legitimate product, after Mr. Lyon and his cohort realized that their primary customers — devoted programmers and gamers — spend hour after hour at their consoles, often too wrapped up in their pursuits to hit the refrigerator for another Red Bull energy drink,” Koerner reports. “The major caveat regarding the chiller, which CoolIT introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last January, is that it won’t keep a full can of soda cold — that, said Mr. Lyon, would require too much power. The company instead promises that the product, priced at $29.99 and available at stores like Fry’s Electronics, will keep a soda appropriately cool once two-thirds of it has been consumed. ‘It’s the bottom third that gets warm before you can finish it,’ said Mr. Lyon.”
Full article here.
Direct link to CoolIT Systems’ USB Beverage Chiller here.