The seemingly simple Rubik's Cube has 43.252 quintillion possible different combinations. Each time you turn a face of the cube, you still have the same raw components of the cube, but you have a different combination. The "solved" version of the cube with each face the same colour is just a different arrangement of the pieces compared to any one of those 43 quintillion different combinations. That is an overly simplistic example of the Universe. Just look around you. Without doubt I would say that you can see more than 118 different items within your field of view. But every object in our known Universe is made up of just 118 core elements - just arranged in different ways. Of those 118, only approximately 92 occur naturally and most of what we see is probably only made up of about ten elements. Arrange those elements in different ways to form molecules and compounds and you have what you see around us. Including us! In fact we are mostly made up of just six elements. Take all of that background knowledge and apply it to something incredibly important. Drinks. Cana, a Silicon Valley start-up, has created a molecular beverage printer. It claims to be able to create, and even customise, virtually any cold drink just by adding the precise compounds required. Think about an endless assortment of soft drinks, energy drinks, alcoholic drinks and even cocktails. Now my first thought was of the fine tradition dating back several hundred years of creating your favourite Scotch whisky. Ask any expert and they will tell you that an important part of the process is maturing the whisky in oak casks for a minimum of three years - and sometimes for decades. During this time the whisky absorbs flavours from the wood and develops a characteristic taste and aroma. Well ... those tastes and aromas are, you guessed it, just a specific combination of compounds. If you can work out what those compounds are and mix them together, surely you will have the same drink? That remains to be seen but the scientists at Cana work backwards from each drink to analyse the exact components. Call it reverse engineering a drink if you like. Once the components have been identified, mix them together and you should have the same drink every time. Given the fact that over 90 per cent of the drinks are just water, Cana supplies a cartridge that will dispense the ingredients for any drink you choose from the touch screen to be mixed with water and your drink is ready to be, well, drunk. Third-party brands can feature their drinks on the dispenser thereby solving the problem of lawsuits exploding faster than gas bubbles and you can make your own favourite mixtures to be saved to your machine. It wouldn't be a modern tech company without an environmental message. The company not only want to make life more convenient for consumers but they want to reduce the beverage industry's impact on the planet. 78 million tonnes of plastic is produced annually to make packaging. Remove the need to have an aisle full of different drinks and you remove the need for much of that plastic. It does sound like the fictional Star Trek replicator that is capable of creating almost any type of food, beverage or object on demand using subatomic particles - which is why Patrick Stewart (Captain Picard) was chosen as the brand ambassador.