Many of the “smart home” devices on the market usually provide two important functions: helping users find new ways to interact with technology and helping users find new ways to understand themselves. A new device, called the Vessyl, focuses on the latter, giving users insight into not only what they consume on a regular basis, but also how that consumption affects their bodies and their lives.
Made by Mark One, the Vessyl is a “smart cup” that’s embedded with sensors, much like many of the wearable devices that track biometric data. Instead of sensing the user, however, the Vessyl can determine the molecular makeup of liquids poured into it. From there, the Vessyl Smart Cup can tell users about what they’re putting into their bodies, with data ranging from caffiene content to alcohol, sugar, calories, and more. Those details are also tracked via the Vessyl’s app, which can be integrated with other biometric and health apps – including, conceivably, Apple’s HealthKit app for iOS 8.
Interestingly, some of that data is also fed to users on the side of the Vessyl itself. That gives you a real time snapshot of what’s going into your body, helping you to make better consumption decisions without waiting to review data as it’s fed to your app at the end of the day.
The Vessyl is designed by Yves Behar, the man behind the One Laptop per Child computer initiative, not to mention one of the guiding forces of the OUYA Android game console. The Vessyl’s minimalist, fashionable design definitely shows that it’s more than a utilitarian piece of tech. No one will give you funny looks for using the Vessyl out in public – well, they actually might, since you’ll be constantly reading the LED display on your cup. That’s probably tough to ignore.
In all, the Vessyl seems like the kind of device that could fit in well with the average person’s lifestyle. That is until you look at the price: pre-orders for one Vessyl unit run $99, with the final price for its 2015 release coming in at twice that much. A post on CNET explains that the pre-orders are helping to fund a $50,000 crowdfunding campaign. As long as 500 customers decide they want to pre-order the Vessyl, the campaign will hit its goal with ease.
The bigger question, however, is whether or not the smart cup can woo enough people willing to pay $200 for a fancy cup. While the Vessyl promises to provide valuable data to health-conscious consumers, that’s an awfully high price for a device with only one function. It’s probably no coincidence that the promotional video above shows nothing but young, fit urbanites getting fit and drinking up life. For the rest of us, we may have to track our drinking patterns the old fashioned way: checking how many beers are left in the fridge or how much coffee is left in the pot.