Your standard tech write-up of Mark One’s new product, Pryme Vessyl, would exhaustively list the cup’s specs. In summary, it’s an “intelligent cup” designed to measure how much water it’s holding and track how many sips are taken from it. But there’s one spec that is glaringly obvious, even though Mark One won’t say it: the premise behind this “intelligent cup” is dumb.
Let’s start with the basics. A widely circulated factoid suggests humans need eight cups of water a day. This isn’t true, even a little bit. About 20 percent of our water intake comes from the foods we eat, such as fruits and vegetables. So tracking your water intake doesn’t give you the entire hydration picture, unless you track all your meals as well.
This has not stopped Mark One — a company that bills itself as working in health technology — from launching Pryme Vessyl and its specialized companion app. The app takes into account a user’s height, age, weight, and sex; supposedly, it even accounts for how much sleep and exercise a person is getting. The app then works in sync with the cup, to determine how much more water a person should be drinking each day, depending on his or her own “personal hydration needs.”
“Many of us still follow the eight cups per day, one-size-fits-all approach to water consumption, but everyone’s hydration needs are unique — fluctuating day-by-day, and even hour-by-hour,” according to the press release for Pryme Vessyl, which is a $99 product that presumably someone thought it was a good idea to make. It will be available starting today in select Apple stores in the US and Canada.
The only thing Mark One gets right is that everyone’s hydration needs are different. This is actually true. The more you exercise, for example, the more water you sweat out; your body will then require a higher intake of H20 to offset the loss. Factors such as physical activity, height and weight, health conditions, and the surrounding climate all affect a person’s daily water needs day to day.
But the big issue is the measuring system. Even if we were to pretend food didn’t play a role in water intake — we’ll pretend it for now — most of the H20 people consume comes from juices, milk, and caffeinated beverages. It’s not clear if Pryme Vessyl can measure the amount of water contained by those liquids, but it seems doubtful.
Regardless, there is a much better app that tracks your water consumption and lets you know when you need to drink more water. It’s called your body, and it’s been a proven technology for thousands of years now. The Mayo Clinic recommends that as long as you drink enough fluids so you don’t feel thirsty and your urine is yellow or without color, you’re getting enough water. Those are the important things, say actual doctors.
Pryme Vessyl seems to be a much simpler version of another cup Mark One is working on called Vessyl. That smart cup is designed to detect the nutritional contents of the liquid it holds. For example, Vessyl theoretically would be able to tell you if the coffee inside it is strong or weak. However, Mark One seems to be having problems with Vessyl, which was supposed to ship in early 2015. Shipments were delayed until later this year, and no new announcements have been made about when Vessyl will actually be released.
Pryme Vessyl seems to be taking Vessyl’s place for now. It’s taking the concept for a cup no one would ever use and making it worse. Another brilliant idea from our disruptive tech overlords.