A partnership between famed industrial designer Yves Behar and company Mark One are today announcing the Vessyl, smart cup that seeks to track data for the nutrition in beverages. The concept sounds simple. Pour a drink into the sensor-packed Vessyl cup, and an accompanying iPhone application will instantly tell you the type of beverage (like soda or milk), the brand (perhaps Coke or Pepsi), calorie content, fat content, and sugar content…
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Besides telling you the nutrition for the liquid inside of the cup at any one time, the application and cup can work together to track overall beverage consumption each day as well as how much liquid the body needs to stay hydrated. Above are sample images of the Vessyl iPhone application.
Last week in San Fransisco, I had the opportunity to try out a prototype version of the Vessyl cup and application. I poured a complete can of Sunkist into the prototype cup and the iPhone app immediately told me everything there is to know about the drink. A video about Vessyl shows this process well:
While the prototype worked as advertised, I do not think that the Vessyl is practical in many situations. For instance, there does not seem to be a point or convenience in pouring a canned drink into the cup to seek nutritional data. All canned drinks already have this data (and more) printed on the can’s packaging. The Vessyl does make sense, however, for people who commonly pour drinks out of large bottles. While the interior of the cup has an easily cleanable surface, the cup unfortunately cannot be cleaned like your glassware in your dish washer (at least in the initial version).
Still, the concept of the Vessyl is interesting in light of the recent explosion in both sensor and health/fitness tracking technologies. Vessyl goes on a pre-order sale today for $99 a unit in order to raise $50,000 for production. I am excited to see how consumers respond to this idea and how such a product could integrate with future wearable devices and health tracking software from Apple.