Smart cup analyzes what you put in your body

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Friday, March 27, 2015
Smart cup analyzes what you put in your body
A new smart cup called the Vessyl can immediately analyze the molecular content of what you are drinking and beam the data to your smart phone.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- If you are what you eat, wouldn't it be nice to know what you're really putting into your body? Now a wave of new technology promises to do that and more.

A Bay Area startup called Vessyl is focused not on what consumers eat, but what they drink. Just pour any liquid into the Vessyl cup and sensors analyze the molecular content and beam the data to your smart phone.

"What the Vessyl provides for information is calories, sugars, caffeine, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals and more," Vessyl co-Founder and CEO Justin Lee explained.

Dr. Mark Berman said the data can be tracked over days or weeks and provides powerful insights into what users are putting into their bodies and the effect that specific sugars or fats could have on their health.

"It's not just diabetes. It's not just obesity. There are many other conditions. And when you trace back many of those conditions, it does come down to what you eat and drink," Berman pointed out.

On the heels of Vessyl, a number of competing devices are also in development, and designed give consumers almost unlimited ability to analyze any type of food or drink with just the click of a button.

TellSpec, headquartered in Toronto, is offering a handheld device that's designed to both break down the composition of foods and also alert users to potentially harmful allergens via a phone based app.

"We actually also educate the consumer by giving them the ability to immediately understand what that ingredient does to their health," TellSpec CEO Isabel Hoffman said.

Yet another offering from Scio, based in Israel, promises to analyze not only food but plants and almost any chemical you might come in contact with during the day.

The devices all take advantage of a technology known as spectroscopy, which beams light into an object then analyzes the patterns or spectrums that bounce back.

"Most labels just say 'sugar,' but what kind of sugar is it? You may want to avoid fructose if you have diabetes or want to lose weight," Hoffman said.

And if consumers bite, or sip, developers believe the result could revolutionize the notion of food labeling, giving consumers unprecedented control over what they put in their bodies.

All three devices are scheduled to begin shipping in the fall. Vessyl is currently priced at about $120 with the Scio at about $250 and the TellSpec at about $350.

Written and produced by Tim Didion