Smartphone-controlled mug keeps coffee at the perfect temperature for longer
That small window where a freshly brewed coffee is at the perfect temperature can close pretty quickly sometimes, particularly if you're distracted by other tasks during your morning routine. California-based Ember Technologies has developed a connected coffee mug that is claimed to keep your beverage hotter for longer, with users able to set the temperature through a companion smartphone app or a twist of the mug's base.
The 12-ounce (350 ml) Ember mug uses patented phase-change heat and cooling technology to keep the coffee or tea inside at a preferred temperature for around two hours. Phase-change materials shift from one state to another when exposed to different temperatures. So when hot, they may change from solid to a liquid and absorb and store heat in the process. And then when cooled again, they may change back to a solid and release this heat, for example.
This type of material has wide-ranging potential, with researchers exploring its use in construction, robotics, new kinds of refrigerators and, of course, coffee mugs. We've seen a couple of efforts in this area before, with German scientists developing a phase-change mug claimed to keep coffee hot for 30 minutes in 2009, and then researchers unveiling a version that does so "for hours" in 2013.
And with all these advanced coffee cups around, it was surely just a matter of time before somebody built an app to go with them. By connecting with a smartphone over Bluetooth LE, Ember offers some features you can certainly do without, but a few pretty practical ones as well.
To start, users can give their coffee mug a name (definitely in the first category) and they can set their preferred temperature and have the app notify them when their scalding hot drink has cooled enough to safely put their mouth to. The company says that Ember will actively bring the drink down to the set temperature, rather than waiting for it to cool naturally. It also allows preset temperatures for different drinks, so if you like your coffee at 136° F, but your tea at 142° F, these can be entered one time in the app to make switching between the two a little easier.
But if you find all that fiddling around in the app is more trouble than it's worth (which let's face it, it often is with things like this), Ember's temperature can simply be adjusted with a rotating dial just below the small display indicating the temperature. And to refuel, the mug is placed on a wireless charging pad, which doubles as a coaster and restores it to a full charge in 1.5 hours.
Ember is currently the subject of an Indiegogo campaign, where an early pledge of US$109 will put you in line for one if everything goes as planned. Shipping is slated for April 2016.
You can check out the Ember pitch video below.