At first glance, "Vessyl" looks like an ultra-modern, but relatively ordinary, 13 oz (385 ml) mug. However, pour something into it and it becomes extraordinary: not only will it identify what type of drink it has in it, but Vessyl will also tell you its dietary content, such as sugar, protein, calories, fat, caffeine – even identifying the beverage by name – then take all of those results and synchronize them to your smartphone.
Working with a companion smartphone app for iOS and Android, Vessyl transfers data via Bluetooth to automatically record and analyze your daily beverage intake. During the day as you fill and refill Vessyl, the app tracks what you are drinking and when, while keeping a running total. The app can then be made to show specific details, such as the amount of caffeine imbibed for the day, the quantity of sugar ingested, or the amount of calories consumed.
Each of the different drink constituents can also be monitored dependent upon your focus – if you're trying to cut down on your caffeine intake, for example. Vessyl calls these specific target monitors "lenses," with the cup displaying your choice of lens in a running tally on its discreet in-built display.
Vessyl can even tell you whether you need to drink more water by displaying a vivid blue line that rises and falls dependent upon your hydration level. Vessyl calls this part of the technology "Pryme," and it can be displayed independently on the cup itself, or within the app to show you not only how hydrated you are, but for how long you remained at optimal hydration levels. All of which coincides with the Vessyl mantra of empowering people to make better choices.
"With Vessyl, we’re solving the other half of the tracking equation," said Justin Lee, CEO of Mark One, the company behind Vessyl. "There are plenty of devices that track activity, but Vessyl is the first ever consumer product to automatically track your consumption in real time. Beverages are a major source of unnoticed calories, and Vessyl gives you the tools to easily know what you’re really drinking and motivate you to make healthier choices."
Lee and the Vessyl team are keeping the technology driving its smart cup close to their chests, only revealing that the sensor itself does not come into direct contact with the liquid inside the cup and that a processor and algorithms are responsible for matching the detected beverage to one of thousands of drinks Lee’s team has tested with Vessyl, even differentiating between different brands of the same drink. However, the team says the device is not dependent on a preset library of drinks to determine the nutritional content of a liquid, with even homemade concoctions able to be analyzed.
Seven years in development, Vessyl was created with the skills of Jawbone designer, Yves Behar. Designed to be a chic lifestyle product that is both fashionable and functional, Vessyl has a spill-proof lid, a non-stick interior, and an accompanying charging coaster that provides the cup with enough power for an entire week’s use in just one hour of charge time.
Officially launched in this month as a pre-production unit to assess consumer demand, the team plans to enter production in early 2015 at a retail price of US$199. However, to help ensure that the requisite capital is raised for production, Vessyl will be made available for pre-order to early backers with prices starting at $99.
The video below demonstrates the Vessyl in action.
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