Say you go out after work and have a few too many drinks. The next morning you might pay the price with a nasty hangover. If you've been drinking out of a Vessyl smart cup, you’ll also face a detailed record of all the bad stuff you put in your body. Then again, drinking from a Vessyl might stop you from consuming so much in the first place.
The cup, which launched a pre-sale campaign today, knows exactly what you’re drinking, telling you in real time about your intake of calories, sugar, protein, and fat. It also keeps track of how much caffeine you've had and will inform you “how much is too much,” according to Mark One, the start-up behind this new product.
Mark One’s co-founder and chief executive officer, Justin Lee, came up with the idea for Vessyl seven years ago while studying bio medical computing at Queen’s University in Canada. To develop the product, he enlisted Yves Béhar, the celebrated Swiss-born designer behind Jawbone, the $100 XO “one child per laptop” computer, and Edyn, a newfangled gardening device that keeps track of soil and weather conditions.
The elegant 13-oz. cup, which can be preordered for $99 but will ultimately retail for $199, comes with a lid and a coaster that doubles as a charging device. Lee claims the cup’s molecular sensors accurately measure sugar, protein, calories, fat, and caffeine in any beverage, commercial or homemade. The Verge writer Ellis Hamburger tried it out and reported: “Within 10 seconds, the device…recognized Crush orange soda, Vitamin Water XXX, Tropicana orange juice, Gatorade Cool Blue, plain-old water, and a few other beverages, all by name. Yes, this cup knows the difference between Gatorade Cool Blue and Glacier Freeze.”
Vessyl, which can be synced with a smartphone via Bluetooth, displays consumption information on its side. A bright blue line that appears when the cup is tilted backward indicates the user’s current level of hydration. The company plans to start shipping the device early next year.
This is but the latest of many gadgets catering to health nuts eager to track and analyze everything about their physical existence. The goal is to motivate people to make healthier choices. Not everyone wants to face the facts—one editor here dubbed the cup the Bummer Beer Mug.
No more "Check please!" with this gadget
Have you ever waited so long at a restaurant for a waiter to bring the check that, even though you enjoyed the food, you swore never to eat there again?
Or how about that awkward moment after a meal with friends, when the check arrives and conversation stops because someone has to figure out how to split the bill fairly?
Hoping to eliminate such stressful dining-out experiences, a Kirkland, Wash.-based startup, Viableware, has created a potentially million-dollar product. Called RAIL (restaurant lingo for "quick"), it's a portable device that lets you do a self-checkout right from your table.
About the size of a typical restaurant check holder, the touchscreen device displays a digital version of the bill. Customers can use it to easily split the check, calculate tips, swipe their credit cards, and print out or email themselves the receipt.
"Basically you can pay the bill yourself in 20 seconds or less and you're no longer dependent on the waiter," said Joseph Snell, CEO of Viableware.
There's an advantage for restaurants, too. "Since waiters don't have to run back and forth with checks, they can focus on better service," said Snell.
The devices, which cost about $200 each, are currently being tested by PayPal andAmerican Express (AXP, Fortune 500), and in restaurants including P.F. Chang's,Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse and pub chain McMenamins.
This isn't Snell's first time launching a company. Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk bought Snell's first startup, Pantheon, a software provider for the publishing industry, in 1997. Over the ensuing years, the serial entrepreneur launched and sold three small businesses.
In 2010, a colleague approached Snell with an initial concept for the gadget. The basic idea was to protect customers from identity theft, since it allows diners to swipe their own credit card rather than hand it over to a waiter. RAIL doesn't store any customer information, like credit card numbers.
But Snell's gut told him he'd need to make the device even more useful to get the attention of investors and potential customers. So he talked to restaurant owners and others in the industry, and based on their feedback, added features like the ability to calculate tips, and split the bill.
Viableware so far has raised nearly $6.5 million in funding, mostly from Seattle-based angel investors. It found a manufacturer in China, and expects to make 300 to 600 of the devices this year. Snell hopes the technology catches on once the restaurants' pilot programs are done, so the company can start generating revenues.
If the company scores big contracts from large restaurant chains, Snell expects they could generate $3 million to $5 million in sales for the company by year end. Even better, he hopes, they could improve the dining-out experience for "both the restaurant and the consumer."
Meet the Stir Kinetic Desk
The Stir Kinetic Desk moves with you throughout your day, helping to keep you fit, energized, and inspired. Go from a seated to a standing position with a simple double tap on the touchscreen. This little bit of movement has big payoffs: increased health, happiness, and productivity.
How it works:
1. Set your standing and sitting height presets and your standing goals on the built-in touchscreen. Motors make it move.
2. It moves when you double tap.
3. In active mode, the Whisperbreath feature gently moves the desk up and down one inch inviting you to change position. The desk learns when it’s best to remind you, so that being more active is effortless.
4. The desk senses when you arrive, and tracks your standing time and extra calories burned.
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