I can’t help but feel like the Vessyl ( is a bit…pandering?
Just seems like anyone that can read a label and think, could already do the vast majority of the features themselves.

Some of the phrases describing it (taken from the C77 article on the main site and the Vessyl FAQ) really irked me:

  • You can tell it to tell you to cut down or ramp up (why not just tell yourself and cut out the middleman?)
  • It can tell how quickly you’re drinking (you can already tell how quickly you are drinking all by yourself)
  • You’ll quickly learn how much caffeine…is too much (feeling tweaked? don’t have another…simple)
  • Vessyl will estimate your unique hydration needs and adjust them based on your activities (just been for a run and sweated lots? drink some water.)
  • Limiting the amount of added sugars you consume (or read the label on the bottle before buying)

It is almost like it is a replacement for common sense - I can forsee people in the future consulting their cup (or it’s related app) to see if they should have a drink or not, rather than thinking or feeling for themselves. Take their smart cup away and they would either shrivel up with dehydration or just go around downing everything in sight till they burst. :wink:

Am I being too cynical? No doubt some will find it useful, and I’m sure it will sell like hotcakes.

Tracking calories from drinks over time sounds well and good on paper, but means that you would have to drink all your drinks out of the same cup. Is that really practical? If you are drinking from it only some of the time, does that not defeat the purpose?

Anyone out there care to stick up for the Vessyl?

(just to clarify, I love the faceted form. The ID animation especially, is super, super cool - it’s just the principle of the whole thing that bugs me)

I’d open it to the broader subject - big data, where is the value.

Nothing wrong with being a cynic, my generation thrives on it. I for one want proof of a claim, otherwise I consider any claim without proof to be puffery at best.

But I have seen the advantage of big data. I have seen where tracking data, displaying back to the user, has a positive outcome.

And as a matter of fact, I am interrupting research right now on whether we should pursue this automated electronic monitoring with a particular product or is the “manual” method enough to create the positive outcome. Unfortunately the literature review is success stories and I am having a hard time finding failures. It is difficult to make an informed decision with only one side of the story.

As for Vessyl, my only problem is with their claims,


(Pardon the caps, I copied and pasted directly from their website). Again, all of these things could happen in theory, but whether they do or not has not been validated by research. In the end they will probably get the pants sued off of them like what happened to those silly shoe manufacturers who claimed health benefits to using their shoes.

Has anyone used this during the day as intended? this is the comment I added to the story on the core blog:

My first thought is a lot of people going “gee whiz” because the technology shows great potential, but not really thinking how this will be used during the day. In the morning grab a take away cup of coffee, pour it into the vessyl. Two hours later grab a coke from a vending machine, pour it into the vessyl on top of your coffee dregs and milk scum. Lunch at a restaurant: “Wine Sir?”, poured over the top of coffee and coke residue. After work, a couple of beers at the pub, all in together, mmmm. The FAQ states the inside is non-stick glass and easy to clean, but cleaning on the go is a big issue in my opinion.

There is a similar product on Kickstarter (SCiO) that got funded recently. It looks to have the same basic purpose, but on a much boarder scale (not limited to liquids) and uses near-IR spectroscopy. I would imagine that is what the vessyl uses as well.

That said, I do think they claims they are making about the health benefits deserve an asterisk. Yeah, regulating and knowing more about the liquids you put into your body is an important part of being healthy, but it is not the only thing.

Sanjay, you do bring up a good point. I wonder how easy it actually is to clean. Are we talking a simple wipe with a napkin, or is soap and water involved? Or even a quick rinse at a water fountain or sink?

“Wired magazine calls it a milestone.”

WTF is the question that needs to be answered: “Coke” or “Pepsi”.

WTF is the question that needs to be answered “This container holds a Starbuck’s Frappacino.”

The only mystery about a drink in the modern world is whether or not it might have been spiked. And the company is too scared by their legal department to answer that question.

I did not realize at first that this was superstar designers project. It seemed like a myopic tech application from some first-timers. Now I can only conclude a case of mission inebriation.

Lastly 99$ introduction price, 199$ later on, nope. This is a Spencer’s Gifts product for $19, novelty value only.

Will it identify the pathogens that breed in your cup after you drink dozens of beverages in it throughout the course of a week?

Heavy metals in water. Pathogens and bacteria. Tainted baby milk formula. All kinds of things that they will shy away from for legal reasons.

Put a rubber nipple on the end, make it sound an alarm for lead and melamine, and they would sell 100 million in China in the first 6 months.


I would buy the first one. Now the price can be 399.

My understanding is that it couldn’t even detect the presence of things like that if it wanted to; rather than taking a detailed analysis of every chemical in the drink, I believe it just gets an overall “signature” of the drink and matches the drink with a database to work out what the drink is statistically most likely to be. Just like Shazam really. It then uses this database to return the usual nutritional information.

I can’t imagine they have the technology with the ability to accurately determine individual components simply by pouring the beverage into a cup, otherwise we would have been doing this in the spectroscopy lab years ago.

Begs the question though, can they tell the difference between me putting 2 sugars or 10 in my Mocha-Cappa-Framelo-Latte, because the distinction is kind of important if you’re trying to track calories!

Glass interior indicates an optical nature of sensing. Probably added in conductivity and a database. When there is a spectrometer on a chip that will open things up.

Dear Vessyl owner, thank you for your purchase. The proprietary sensing technology inside every Vessyl allows for identification of many different beverages. Most often, drinks are labeled and pouring them into your Vessyl will be a secondary confirmation that the contents match the label. However, there may be occasions when the origins of a drink are unknown. An unmarked PET bottle full of brown liquid for example. Although the Vessyl can make an identification of Coke or Pepsi or sugar based > Mexican Coke> , the makers of Vessyl strongly urge that users do not drink mystery fluids. Vessyl technology is unable to identify possible adulterants that may be present in unmarked fluids. Please use common sense, only drink from sealed labeled bottles and read the labels for full nutritional information. Thank you for your 199$ purchase.

I’m also skeptical… seems like technology for technology’s sake.

I think we’re only going to see more Vessyl-like products as companies try and inject technology wherever they can. While there are of course potential benefits I see two hurdles: usefulness, and usability.

Usefulness: the technology has to provide a benefit. Sure data collection is interesting, but what is the end result? With some fitness tracking apps it’s not the data that sells it to me, it’s the chance to compete with your friends, belong to a network, making it kind of like a game. With Vessyl I think this story is incomplete because as mattwillox pointed out, a lot of it is common sense.

Usability: the added tech cannot take away from the original functionality of the product. As sanjy quoted, I’m not going to use 1 glass all day.

Got the Colbert treatment, guess there’s no such thing as bad publicity I’m sure they got a nice pre-order bump from this

Haha this is awesome.

Can help you confirm “when your coke sometimes taste like diet coke”

I wonder the effect of bad publicity vs peer ridicule.

I first saw this on Colbert and was instantly thinking how stupid it is. It’s a really funny bit that also brings up some very true statements about this product and the launch. But when I went to the website, I was more impressed. Yes, it seems a bit of overkill, but if it does what it says, it’s pretty impressive. It’s hitting at the right time too when you know the big players like Google and Apple are about to go hard after the health market. It fits right in with activity trackers. Most importantly, like any good design, it can lead to other new products. Maybe this could be great for people with diabetes, or some other illness or food intolerance. Yes I can read the label and do the math on my own, but I don’t want to…

Anything that Behar is involved in will have immaculate PR. He probably has stipulations in his contracts that a) the thing has to be designed exactly as he wants it, and b) the associated PR and advertising must be overwhelmingly positive and unfailingly slick. If the product actually works and/or people buy it, that’s secondary. Once I started using this lens to evaluate the success of him and FP, a lot more of the products made sense.

Ha! Didn’t know he was behind this, but it totally makes sense. I’d love to see a pie chart of how many projects 1) were hyped beyond belief 2) were successful on the market and 3) even reached it. Apparently OUYA is dead now, has it even been 2 years since the kickstarter?

On the big data point…For anyone who has ever collected data for an extended period of time (i.e. 2 to 5 years) this product opens an interesting window into ones drinking behaviors. Understanding how our intake of liquids during the holidays, over the course of several winter seasons or while on numerous vacations can lead to some interesting insights over time. To be able to compare month on month, vacation to vacation from year to year seems interesting to me.

The trouble with data however is that it needs to be collected with a high level of quality and discipline. Forgetting your Vessyl at home and missing a few data recordings over time will obviously alter the outcome and quality of the collected data. This products value proposition does not lie in its ability to identify liquids per se, but rather in a comparative data collection period of no less than 2 years as I see it.

This product is asking a lot of discipline from the consumer in order to achieve its value proposition and is a perfect example of Silicon Valley bubble thinking that will only “work” inside of SV…vociferous Bay Area Quantified Self adherents only please.