The “Pepsi Challenge” began in 1975 when the(then) soft drink maker began challenging mall shoppers to taste both Coke and Pepsi in unmarked glasses. It was largely viewed as a triumph of the company as thousands of people found they preferred Pepsi. Never mind the fact that Malcolm Gladwell pointed out in his book Blink that consumers prefer sweeter beverages (Pepsi) in a single-sip test but prefer less sweet (Coke) when an entire can is to be enjoyed.
Pepsi Challenge: The first “smartcup”
I bring up the Pepsi Challenge because the newly announced Vessyl cup is more than capable of taking the test for you. The Vessyl is designed to automatically (digitally) determine what you’re imbibing and tracks it in real-time. No longer will you need to scour through nutrition information on the side of a bottle, nor measure serving sizes in order to know what is going into your body. The cup measures caffeine, calories, fat, protein, sodium, and sugar, and provides an estimation for how much you need to consume in order to achieve peak hydration.
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The cup is also able to determine what commercial product you’re drinking. Mark Colon of PC Mag recently found that the Vessyl correctly identified a a bottled Starbucks Frappuccino when he put it to the test. He also expounded on his own health consciousness for a paragraph leaving me thinking, “I’m glad I don’t drink kale.”
The co-founder of the company behind the Vessyl, Yves Béhar, was responsible for the design of the Jambox speaker and Up activity tracker for Jawbone before starting the Vessyl’s manufacturer, Mark One.
The prototype he tested was made of smooth matte plastic on one half and grooved plastic comprising the second half. On one of those grooves, he found a single-line vertical display that shows your preferred nutrition metric. The additional information that the cup gathers requires a companion app that is available for both Android and iOS. The Vessyl shares that information with your phone of choice through the use of Bluetooth 4.0.
Shipping next year
The final product is expected to display additional information while including a coaster and a sliding spill-proof lid once the company launches its funding. The company is already accepting pre-orders for the Vessyl and expects to begin shipping it in early 2015. Pre-orders are going for $99 which is a significant savings over the expected retail price of $199.
While that is arguably quite expensive, it begs the question “at what price your health?”
The digital health field is expanding rapidly and Mark One should see significant sales if it can deliver what it promises.