I have observed very often best or good ideas come from unexpected source & event and often it comes least of the time you expect. Or put it another way chances of solving a problem are very less if you keep working on it rigorously and after number of futile attempt moment you walk out of the room, you observe something and you have your Eureka (of course hoping you are wearing clothes all along) movement.
I had a very interesting similar experience few years back, one of relative got diagnosed with neck cancer (blame it on usual gutkha & tobacco usage). So I had visited relative along with my family and normal Q&A session was followed. Few key things I learned were, there was small cancerous tumor in neck and options were (a) surgery or (b) chemo + radiation therapy. Tumor was attached to vocal cord, so if one opts for surgery person would lose his speech/voice. Second option (chemo + radiation therapy) wouldn’t hamper speech, however because of radiation heat, food pipe would shrink and food intake would be limited to liquid (no solid or semi solid). Food (nutrition) is basic human necessity, especially during such phase. So to overcome this problem doctor’s user external food pipe to connect to internal/body food pipe which is attached either at 1) nose or 2) stomach (so one basically, churns up food in mixer, make it very liquid so it slips through pipe). To a curious mind it’s all very fascinating to hear what we as human have achieved or can do to save other human lives.
However my Eureka movement happened; when I was listening one friend’s complain about his boss being workaholic, how boss hardly eats or has life of his own..etc etc. Now if you know or have heard about these workaholic, some of them are on very extreme level. These extreme workaholic are soo much hell bent on achieving something or solving a problem that they forget to eat or drink & all routine activity that we all take for granted. Some who are not so extreme, but they are either too bored to cook or consider cooking food as “not so cost-effective usage of their time” or hiring someone to cook can be very expensive proposition. Many of them think cooking & eating is probably not that value adding activity compared to other work they are doing, they think it’s just a necessary evil. There are variety of people who would fit in to this criteria – there are CEO’s who are known to be workaholic, The Nerds & Geeks of Silicon Valley, the specialist doctors & scientist. So these guys usually have on the go food, meaning fast food, meaning unhealthy. Many of them skip their food and then jump to fast food, which can very unhealthy too. This is where I thought, why not have food pipe attached to a healthy human to their stomach and they can just pour the food – this solves all of above problem. I thought for it a while and quickly forgot also, until a day go, I came across this article “The End of Food Is Here, Finally” which talks about a company called “Soylent” (Link here). It aims to solve the same problem illustrated earlier, it’s a nutritional makeup includes protein, carbohydrates, fats, fiber, and vitamins and minerals such as potassium, iron and calcium. It includes all of the elements of a healthy diet, without excess amounts of sugars, saturated fats, or cholesterol. One just mixes the powder with a water, drinks it and done – all calorie intake done.
If this picks up on larger level, what does the future look like? – well for starters most of the fast food or quick service restaurant would mostly likely be out of the business or probably innovative on Soylents’ line. Eating out food made from actually vegetables would become luxury, fine dining would be altogether premium luxury, fine dining of organic vegetables would be super premium luxury.
I also wonder if this can be used in time of calamity – imagine earthquake or floods or war etc, this can be simple way of mass food distribution. Of course access to clean water would be key, probably, ready-mix pouches can be used instead of just powders.
Soylent is estimated to be worth cool US$100mn (~Rs650cr-Rs670cr) (Link here) Be careful of your random thoughts, who knows what you may strike?