New Vessyl ‘smart cup’ shifts focus to hydration, lands in Apple retail stores

Last summer, Mark One made a big splash in the beverage sector when it launched the pre-sale campaign for Vessyl, a smart beverage receptacle that brings the world one step closer to the “quantified you” by tracking what and how much you drink. Though Vessyl has run into delays in product launch, Mark One is moving forward with Pryme Vessyl: a hydration-focused addition to the Vessyl line.

Pryme is something of a slimmed-down, lithe and market-ready version of Vessyl. Though it doesn’t specialize in molecular analysis like Vessyl, Pryme is an intelligent cup that uses some seriously sophisticated sensor tech and what it calls the Pryme algorithm to track your water intake to help you reach your prime (get it?).

Pryme’s reason for existing is pretty straightforward: You don’t drink enough water. At the end of the day, when you finally slow down and sit down and step away from your screens and devices, you probably realize that you forgot to drink much at all. You’ve got a headache, but all you want to do is head to bed and you certainly don’t want to catch up on a day’s worth of water now and pay for it all night long.

It’s difficult to overstate the importance of hydration. Naturally, we all understand how vitally important water is in the context of extreme situations, but it can be a bit more difficult to remember to stay hydrated when you’re in the office that your boss keep just a tad too cold than it is when you’re outside in the brutal midst of summer when even the air seems to be at least thirty percent sweat. Water is key to keeping our brains and bodies working optimally. Without it, things start to go downhill pretty quickly.

Pryme Stretch

“We’re showing links to decrease in focus, decrease in attention, even short-term memory deficits around even minimal levels of dehydration,” says Dr. Hanson Lenyoun as we discuss the studies and vast amounts of research that surround hydration. “We tend to forget that water is so vital for life and for every function of our body that it impacts everything.”

To be clear, though, not everyone’s “day’s worth of water” is the oft-fabled eight glasses. As Mark One’s Head of Brand Nic Barnes tells me, it’d be pretty crazy to assume that LeBron James and Miley Cyrus require the same amount of water daily. Taking into account physical factors like your age, weight and biological sex, along with your level of activity, the Pryme algorithm determines how much water you need to suit your hydration needs.

“Hydration is something that’s unique to each person,” says Barnes, “but we also know that hydration is dynamic, meaning if you wake up at 6 a.m. on a Monday and you work out and you wake up at 6 a.m. on a Tuesday and you don’t work out, what you need to drink at 7 a.m. is very different. The body fluctuates and the body’s needs fluctuate throughout the day.”

Pryme in Hand

At first glance, Vessyl and Pryme are pretty similar. Aesthetically, it’s dead-simple. It’s all clean lines and uninterrupted flow. All of Pryme’s tech is cleverly concealed between the Tritan exterior and the glass walls of the cup’s interior. The lid is magnetic and moves organically, sans unwieldy straws or squeaky caps. And the Pryme’s distinguishing feature, the an illuminated that rises and falls with your hydration levels, acting as a guide as you move toward peak hydration.

With sensors inside of the cup, Pryme tracks the amount of water that passes through its 16 oz. frame. The info gathered through the Pryme app and its integration with Apple Health, Apple Watch and Jawbone’s UP wearable fitness trackers impacts a real-time assessment of your dynamic hydration needs. With push notifications and the aforementioned light, Pryme lets you know how close you are to your “Pryme”. When you get there, a barely-there blue light appears, letting you know you’ve reached the bare minimum human being requirement for the day.

App PrymeTime

“From a design perspective, it’s critical that we make sure that people, when they experience the product, feel like it’s an extension of them and not just a gadget or some kind of utility,” says Barnes.

Though Vessyl, Pryme Vessyl’s predecessor, ran into delays that have held up production and shipping, Pryme is an extension of the Vessyl line of thinking and is available for the first time today online and in Apple Retail Stores.

While not intended to be a replacement for Vessyl — which is designed to analyze and track beverages inside of it (from beer to coffee and water to cider) — Pryme is a piece of the Vessyl puzzle, and it’ll be making its way to early backers who placed preorders as a “thank you” for being patient whilst Vessyl continues to move towards release. Pryme isn’t Vessyl-lite, though — it’s meant to stand on its own, taking the Mark One core value of empowering people to make healthier choices and pointing it in a new direction.

Pryme on Desk

Some will be quick to write it off, calling it a very expensive water bottle. At $99, they’d technically be right, but Pryme’s role in your life goes pretty far beyond cup holders and the bottom of your gym bag.

Its gentle nudges and small reminders come together to mean fewer headaches, better focus and less grumpiness at the hands of dehydration. It’s the kind of tech that’s deeply personal and that has the ability to impact daily behaviors, but begs you not to over think it. Underneath the Apple-esque curves and decidedly 21st century wireless charging tech (which nets Pryme Vessyl about two days of battery life on a two-hour charge), it’s still something we’ve been using for centuries: a cup. It’s just smarter now, like everything else we use.

Update: An earlier version of this story stated that the original Vessyl campaign was a Kickstarter. It was a pre-sale campaign through the product website. The story has been updated to reflect this correction.