McDonald's takes a leaf out of Apple's playbook to reinvent the straw

Lynne Hanson
February 17, 2017

No sir, a regular straw just wouldn't do here, so McDonald's hired some aerospace and robotic engineers to redesign the straw to deliver the ideal 50/50 ratio of flavors while drinking the Chocolate Shamrock Shake.

JACE and NK Labs created the "probably-more-revolutionary-than-actually-needed" Suction Tube for Reverse Axial Withdrawal (the STRAW). The U-shape allows it to pull in flavors from both ends of the drink.

McDonald's revealed the means of a big Facebook Live event, complete with adoringly rendered pans over its sleek surface.

Calling the assignment an "ambitious goal", principal engineer and managing partner at NK Labs Seth Newburg explained, "From a physics perspective, it's actually quite hard to deliver a proportional amount of both chocolate and mint flavors with each sip". Hosted by YouTuber Austin Evans, it also stars McDonald's team member Darci Forrest, senior director of the innovation team at McDonald's. Meanwhile, McDonald's has yet to put any engineers on the problem of fixing the Shamrock Shakes' persistent unusual chemical aftertaste.

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The Chocolate Shamrock Shake was released along with a few other minty beverages earlier this month, but the STRAW is only available in limited quantities at certain locations when you buy a Chocolate Shamrock shake. This Chocolate Shamrock Shake has a layer of chocolate underneath the classic Shamrock Shake (vanilla ice cream with a mint Shamrock Shake syrup).

McDonald's claims the straw enables the two flavours to be sucked up at the same time.

God bless. Physics is not something I understand (or like), but I can get behind a perfect-tasting Chocolate Shamrock Shake.

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