Smart phones, smart watches, smart glasses, but really, does the world need a smart cup? The folks at Mark One, a San Francisco startup, are developing the Vessyl, a phone that can sense its contents and communicate the information to the world.
The cup is fitted with a variety of sensors that are able to identify components of the liquids that you put in it. The company is not revealing much detail about how it works, but their website does state that it uses sensors “in the same realm of technology as quality control in the food industry.” The system is apparently able to detect sugar content, caffeine, and protein. The company is working to build a large database of commercially available beverages, which is how the cup can tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi. The sensors are contained in a non-stick glass composition that is designed to be easy to clean, and the cup even has an integrated display on the outside. The cup is designed to insulate hot or cold beverages, but is not recommended for use in a microwave or dishwasher.
The Vessyl communicates wirelessly using Bluetooth Low Energy, and can talk to iOS and Android phones. It senses how fast you drink a beverage, and it can recognize your habits and hydration needs throughout the day. A spill-proof lid protects the contents, and it charges wirelessly when you place it on its saucer. The cup is designed to run 5 to 7 days between charges.
Mark One is taking their own route to launch their product. Instead of using one of the crowd-funding sites or going for venture capital investors, they are hoping that customers will provide the financing. The company is taking pre-orders for the Vessyl at $99 (discounted from the eventual retail price of $149). They are also offering an affiliate arrangement where you get $10 off for every person who pre-orders using your link; get 10 people to sign up and your Vessyl is free. The company plans on starting production in “early 2015” according to their website, and pre-orders will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.
How much will consumers be willing to spend to track information that is available on the labels of the beverages that they drink? It will be interesting to see whether this new product manages to get traction in the market. Will smart plates be next?