Move over HAPIfork. Estonian startup Jomi Interactive is cooking up a pair of smart devices that will remind people to drink more water. Or at least whatever liquid/poison of choice you put in your water bottle. The aim, says the startup, is to encourage healthy behaviour and counteract the mild dehydration we are all apparently afflicted with. No, not just hungover folk; everyone who fails to glug down the requisite 2.5-3 litres of water per day.
Jomi is prototyping a device — or rather two devices — that aim to fix the problem of having plentiful water on tap but never remembering to drink enough of it (perhaps the ultimate #firstworldproblem). So far, Jomi has created design prototypes and 10 milled PCBs for developers to play around with but no final product. It’s bootstrapping development but will be launching a crowdfunding campaign to fund a production run once it has finalised hardware design and testing.
The two devices it’s planning are the Jomi Band, which will be the more basic of the pair (pictured above in an early design concept render, and below right in prototype form). This will attach around a water bottle and remind the user at pre-set intervals to take a sip (presumably by flashing/beeping). The second more pro product — the Jomi Sleeve — will attach to the bottom of the bottle and, in addition to reminders, will periodically weigh the bottle, to figure out how much water is being consumed. The data will then be sent via Bluetooth to a mobile/tablet app so that pro users can geek out over graphs and charts showing their beverage consumption data (and share their relative ‘liquidity’ with friends).
What specifically does the device hardware consist of? “PCB is custom built, it features an accelerometer, MCU, LEDs, and a few other bits and pieces,” Jomi founder and CEO Andre Eistre tells TechCrunch. Although he stresses they are still at an early stage, with the hardware set to shrink — and the design to be reworked. The software will be open to other developers to hack around with it — so perhaps another app could be made to warn alcoholic beverage drinkers when they have reached a daily safe unit intake level. (Or track soft drink guzzlers’ sugar intake and chart their rising risk of Type 2 diabetes.)
“Designers (from Estonian Arts Academy) are working on the next version of the design model and the design is expected to change drastically over the next few weeks,” he says. “Right now we are focusing on hardware (revision 3) and embedded software of the device… The hardware isn’t final either — it will be a lot smaller than that. Software will be open source — we want people to have fun with the device.”
Eistre says Jomi will 3D-print new silicone molds for the first test batch — due to be handed out to a test group by the end of this month. After that it will be turning to Kickstarter to get the funding ball rolling for a first production run, as it continues product development. It will be aiming to raise $50,000 to start production.
The target market for the devices are 20- to 40-year-old health conscious U.S. consumers who have a penchant for gadgets — the sort of folk who likely own a Fitbit or Fuelband.
Jomi is partnering for testing the market in Europe with bottle maker KOR water, and is hoping to get similar companies in the U.S. interested. “Our intended target market is the U.S., where we would like to secure deals with a few larger water vessel producers, like Sigg, Gobble, CleanKanteen, CamelBak, etc,” Eistre says.
It’s also making the most of Estonia’s startup-friendly environment, securing help and small bits of funding (totalling around €8,000/$10,500 to date) from a variety of domestic companies to keep development costs down.
For instance, Eistre says the hardware development costs have been completely funded by local electronic design firm Hedgehog. Other Estonian companies and organisations that have kicked in free services/grants include Trinidad Consulting, 7Blaze, Velvet Creative Alliance and — quelle surprise — local water company Tallinna Vesi.
Jomi is also down to the last eight (out of a starter pool of 100 original “best business ideas”) in Estonia’s “largest entrepreneurial competition” — Ajujaht (aka “brain hunt”) — which has a €50,000 prize for the winner.
Jomi’s water-measuring gizmos can be put into a category (connected objects/the Internet of things) that looks set to explode over the coming years, as more everyday objects are augmented with data-generating sensors, and that data is in turn funnelled into the Internet’s matrix via smartphones and home routers.