Photo: Courtesy Of Mark One.
Health technology has come a long way. Fitness, in particular, has been hugely influenced by the current generation of workout apps and wearable tech that empowers us to take charge of our exercise goals in a whole new way. Using technology to track your food and drink intake, however, is a process that remains trapped in the relative Dark Ages. As anyone who's ever used a nutrition app knows all too well, they can be frustrating, labor-intensive, and pretty unrealistic for most people to maintain over long periods of time.
Enter Vessyl, an exciting new device that aims to change the way we drink in the same way that fitness trackers have changed our exercise habits. Seven years in the making, Vessyl is essentially a very, very smart cup, outfitted with a sensor capable of identifying any liquid you pour inside by analyzing its chemical composition and comparing that analysis with stored information. This means that Vessyl can not only tell you what brand of soda or juice or energy drink you're sipping, but also its calorie, sugar, and protein content. It can tell you how much fiber is in that smoothie you made this morning, and how much caffeine (or fat) is in that cappuccino.
Vessyl displays this information automatically on an LED screen that appears as if by magic on one side of the cup when you pour in liquid and tilt it upward. That's the whole process — about as user-friendly as it gets. Designed in collaboration with fuseproject and Yves Behar (the creative mind behind the Jawbone) the device holds 13 ounces of liquid and comes with a spill-proof lid and a "coaster" for wireless charging.
Click through for the rest of the story and to see Vessyl in action.
Like most things these days, Vessyl syncs with a fully-customizable smartphone app, which keeps a running total of whatever you'd like to track, from calories to caffeine to sugar. The system also notes your hydration levels with a proprietary metric called Pryme, which estimates your body's needs in real time based on height, weight, location, weather, and activity level — and alerts you when you might need to refill the tank.
The project was created in consultation with Mark Berman, MD (a nutrition specialist) in order to facilitate realistic, valuable interactions between a user and his or her wellness goals. As Vessyl creator Justin Lee told me during a product demo last week, "This is for the person that wants to be mindful of what they consume...we really built the Vessyl to be about what matters to you."
Maybe the best part of this whole thing is that — at least in last week's demonstration — it actually works. The prototype quickly identified the Starbucks Frappuccino I poured into it, and the app updated immediately to reflect the caffeine, fat, and sugar content we were adding to the Vessyl's aggregate total.
Of course, for many people, a super-cool, high-tech cup is all well and good — but a super-cool, high-tech plate would be some seriously life-changing stuff. While he wouldn't give any firm details, Lee hinted that the Vessyl is the first in a series of products that will utilize this sensor technology to change the way we interact with everything we consume. As Lee says, "What we really want to do is to empower people to make healthier choices in real time." It may not be a magic plate, but Vessyl is on the right tech track.
Vessyl ships in late 2015, but is available for pre-order today. Retail price is $199, but early adopters can snag their Vessyls for $99.