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VidaPak produces hot and cold drinks from the same unit


February 11, 2014

The VidaPak prototype in drink-making action

The VidaPak prototype in drink-making action

Coffee machines have become a fixture of many offices and homes, but how about a machine that can mix and dispense cold drinks, saving all those plastic bottles? A team of inventors based in Tampa, Florida, have developed the prototype of a machine that does just that. Called VidaPak, the Keurig coffeemaker-like unit can refrigerate and heat to serve both cold and hot drinks.

The team has developed a patent-pending technology that processes a range of cold drinks quickly and cleanly inside a new type of K-cup called the V-Pak. It can handle a wide range of drink ingredients and ensures the ingredients stay in one single area of the container, so the V-Pak can release the water that comes into it in a regular, steady flow. The right amount of water and air pressure is also key.

The VidaPak machine will have the usual type buttons that a regular Keurig machine will have, plus two additional buttons: one for hot and the other for cold drinks. Once the user chooses and presses the button of their choice, the appropriate logic circuit is activated. Next, the user can choose the size of their drinks. In the case of hot drinks, the user can select 4, 6 or 8 ounces (113, 170 or 227 grams). For cold drinks the options are servings of 8, 10 or 12 ounces (227, 283 or 340 grams).

β€œThe machine itself has been a challenge because traditional compressors to cool beverages are historically very large, very heavy, and very loud. So we came up with an incredibly powerful micro-compressor that is quiet and very efficient. We should be able to keep the machine footprint almost the same size of a traditional single-serve coffee machine,” VidaPak co-creator Bob Gruder tells Gizmag.

So far, the team has completed the fabrication of the steel injection molds for the VidaPak V-Paks, which are ready for mass production. Next, the housing design of the VidaPak machine needs to be finalized around the refrigeration unit. Once the prototype run green-lights the housing design and the proper flow of the fluids, the team will press ahead with the full production runs.

Meanwhile, they are negotiating with companies that make the beverage ingredients in several flavors (grape, orange, sports drinks, lemonade, iced tea, etc) before they begin a production run of the V-Paks. In terms of ingredient supply, Gruder adds that VidaPak will follow in the footsteps of companies such as Keurig and SodaStream, that is, direct sales to mainstream retailers such as Target, Walmart and K Mart, as well as 25 percent via distributors.

The VidaPak team is currently fundraising on Kickstarter. In order to get a machine (when and if they reach production), pledge packages start at US$125, with a further $50 to cover shipping to addresses outside the US.

In the video below, Bob Gruder makes his pitch.

Sources: VidaPak, Kickstarter

About the Author
Antonio Pasolini Brazilian-Italian Antonio Pasolini graduated in journalism in Brazil before heading out to London for an MA in film and television studies. He fell in love with the city and spent 13 years there as a film reviewer before settling back in Brazil. Antonio's passion for green issues - and the outdoors - eventually got the best of him and since 2007 he's been writing about alternative energy, sustainability and new technology. All articles by Antonio Pasolini

The VidaPak and the VidaPak Hot and Cold machine are the next generation of the K-cup and Keurig, as this is just the next logical step in the evolution of these products. I presently am a Backer on the Kickstarter site, in line for two of the machines, that will replace our home and office Keurig machines. I can't wait to have a cold iced tea, and different flavored sports drinks...

Rodney Schoemann

Seems like a solution without a problem to solve to me... Another way to lock you into an ecosystem where you have to purchase the cold K-cups from this company. Also what happens when you have the device and the company goes under and you can't get the cold K-cups any more?

Jon Smith
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