The Sportline Hydracoach Intelligent Water Bottle is for quantified self nerds like me who like to measure everything going on in their bodies and analyze it – which then allows for biohacking to optimize oneself for health, cognition, energy, etc. It runs around $30 on Amazon. As far as I am aware, it is the only product of its type. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the product is under current development (at least the official website is horribly outdated).
The included user manual (which is well-done, better than most product manuals these days) states, “The HydraCoach will provide immediate benefits by monitoring your personal consumption rate and motivating you to drink steadily through the day. Serious athletes to everyday health conscious individuals can now interactively manage their own fluid consumption to maximize the benefits of hydration while proactively preventing the ill-effects of both dehydration and over-hydration (Hyponatremia).”
First is a matter of laziness on my part – but one I suspect many will identify with. I don’t like to wash a water bottle until it needs to be. Unfortunately, this water bottle after a few days begins to taste swampy. I don’t usually drink out of water bottles – so I can’t verify whether this is always the case with water bottles…but I know it doesn’t seem to be the case with regular cups.
This in and of itself isn’t too big of a deal – but the difficulty of cleaning the water bottle is. The bottle itself is fairly easy (though it can’t be washed via dish washer!) but the mouthpiece, tubing, and so on are a bit of a pain and ideally require soaking. When I haven’t taken the time to soak these components I’ve been greeted by the unpleasant swampy taste even after washing (with soap) the bottle and other components. I suspect this is because the mouthpiece and so on contains various components in order to track water flow that unfortunately tend to gather various little invisible critters/fauna that begin to grow and reproduce therein…and that these aren’t easily removed via a regular washing.
If you can live with this (I am) the next big issue is the upper cap which fits onto the bottle. Other than those special components it seems just like any other water bottle cap – but it refuses to act like one. When I attempt to screw it on it usually resists. I try over and over and eventually, magically, it decides that this time it will twist on. I am sure there is some trick to this – but I don’t know what it is and I don’t see any marking that say, “hey, start twisting the cap onto the bottle at this position.” So, this is very annoying. One may be tempted (as I was) to push the lid down, thinking maybe it just needs a little extra force to lock into place – nope…all one will accomplish is dousing oneself in water when attempting to drink.
All this said, none of these issues are ‘deal-breakers’ in my opinion. The device has shown me that I consume a lot less water than I thought I did (and I think I consume more than most). It also does help one monitor how much one is drinking throughout the day – thus allowing for better pacing. Still, there is much to be desired in the device – as it lags far behind currently available technologies. The website mentions 2007 at one point – and I’m guessing that is when this product was released and I don’t think it has been updated since then.
Here is what I’m hoping to see in the next generation device or from a competitor’s product:
- The device should use wireless technology (or at the least some form of tethering [USB]) to communicate with smart devices (phones, computers) data and to allow for configuration.
- The device should integrate with third-party fitness products such as FitBit so that I don’t have to manually enter my data each day into my third-party fitness product (in my case this is FitBit), it should happen automagically.
- Since the programming can be done via smart devices in a future rendition it would be possible to decrease the size of the display on the unit and to rid it off all buttons.
- It should be able to automatically calculate when a day begins and ends and automatically move on to the next day – instead of needing me to tell it each time I want a new day to begin.
- It should be dishwasher safe.
- Ideally, there should be an easier way to maintain its cleanliness so that the water doesn’t become swampy.