High Tech H2O: 10 smart hydration solutions for summer
With summer peaking and heat waves across the continent showing no sign of letting up soon, staying hydrated is perhaps one of the most important things you can do for your health. According to the Dieticians of Canada, adults require somewhere between two and three litres of fluid each day.
While you get some of this fluid in fresh fruits and veggies (assuming you are eating your fair share of those), it is recommended that most of your fluid intake comes from fresh water. It takes a loss of only one per cent of the body’s water content for dehydration to set in, so if you are sweating buckets, you better be drinking just as much!
Studies show that most of us aren’t hitting our goals when it comes to hydration, with up to 75 per cent of Americans and 89 per cent of Brits suffering from mild but chronic dehydration. Symptoms such as thirst, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, chills, headaches and muscle cramps can all point to signs of dehydration. Of course, with extreme heat and excessive activity, it’s also possible to drink too much water. You can actually poison yourself with the stuff, putting your electrolytes out of balance. So wouldn’t it be easier if there was a way to ensure you were getting just the right amount?
High tech hydration products aren’t new, but it seems as if the trend is finally starting to take off, and they can be just what you need to make sure you get the perfect amount of water every day.
This system has been around since 2010, created by Cambridge Consultants, and uses a combination of sensors to determine an individual’s hydration needs. A flow meter detects consumption and a thermometer tracks the heat. Your smartphone’s accelerometer and gyroscope track your activity levels and that data can be paired with information from a heart-rate monitor to perfectly calculate how much water you should drink, alerting you with a light blue glow from your bottle when you need to drink more.
These two botched Kickstarter campaigns both showed a lot of promise. The Hug only reached 83 per cent of its funding goal, but their failure to launch didn’t actually prevent them from launching. The product is now available on their website to corporate clients.
Ilumi, on the other hand, was successfully funded on Kickstarter in 2013, back before the implementation of stricter prototype requirements for the site. The creator walked away with over $35,000 but never produced the advertised rewards for backers.
Other creators (and Kickstarter supporters) weren’t deterred by these setbacks, however, and there are currently several new prototypes in the works.
3. Hidrate Me
The Kickstarter campaign for this smart water bottle ended Jul. 13, 2015 with much success - more than 8,000 backers pledging over $627,000 USD, almost eighteen times greater than their original goal.
In addition to the standard features of tracking your water intake and alerting you when it’s time to drink more, the app includes unique a feature that allow you to locate a lost bottle, and can sync with other wearable devices you might own.
4. Oaxis Vita Smart - starting at $57 USD
Still in the funding phase, you have the chance to get in on the ground floor with this bottle, and then some. The Vita Smart Bluetooth bottle is part of the Oaxis Wellness Suite of products, which also includes a wearable fitness band that can track your activity, and a scale-like “body analyzer” which measure weight and body composition metrics, including your water index.
In addition to all the data you can mine with these gadgets, the BPA-free Vita bottle also includes a Total Dissolved Solid (TDS) sensor which measures water purity, so you’ll know, anywhere you go, that your water is safe to drink.
5. Hydracoach - $29.99 USD
This is one of the more simplistic models on the market, perfect for anyone who still hasn’t converted to a smartphone, or who is more prone to losing their handheld than their water bottle. Hydracoach calculates your ideal water intake and tracks your intake in real-time, letting you know when you’ve had enough or when you need more. This “basic version” is available as a bottle, but you can also buy a version to strap on to any Camelbak hydration system of your choice.
6. H2O Pal - on sale for $79 USD (regular $129)
The truly smart water bottle that you can buy today, H2O Pal is especially great for anyone who already has a favourite water bottle. The unique base-and-strap system comes with a bottle of its own, but can be strapped onto a variety of bottles in various sizes and materials.
While their iOS app is still in beta, it boasts a variety of tracking and notification features, along with gamification options that aim to, in their words, “Make drinking water FUN” as well as healthy. And they’re on sale for the summer!
7. Vessyl - preorder for $149 USD
If you are hoping to quantify more than water intake, smart cup Vessyl doesn’t just keep track of the amount of liquids you drink, though hydration is a major feature. It can also tell you exactly what’s in every sip you take. Breaking down the carbohydrate, protein and fat content of beverages, calculating caffeine content, testing for alcohol, quantifying calories, Vessyl is even able to tell the difference between your favourite soft drinks or iced coffee beverages.
With an app available for both iOS and Android, along with customizable “lenses” through which to organize your data and set goals, Vessyl is already a popular option for tech-savvy health consumers, even though it won’t start shipping until fall.
8. Cuptime - $89.99 USD
If you want the versatility of a cup without all the bells and whistles of Vessyl, or if you just want something you can buy right now, Cuptime uses a built in 3D accelerometer to track your water intake and give you hydration recommendations based on your unique physical requirements. It even comes with a travel lid so you can take it on your commute.
9. DIY Apps - free to $0.99
If you don’t want to shell out the extra cash for a connected water bottle, you can still use your smartphone to ensure you are getting all the water you need. There are dozens of apps available for Android and iOS devices - Aqualert, Daily Water, Waterlogged, iDrated, Water Your Body, and more – which give you all the same tracking options as the devices above to use with your own manual tracking.
10. Recycled jug – free!
This gallon jug may not be “smart” in the modern sense, but it is definitely a useful lifehack for anyone who needs to get their daily water in but can’t afford all the high-tech gadgets.