Ulla smart hydration reminder – can a blinking device make me drink more water?

Ulla smart hydration reminder – can a blinking device make me drink more water?

This may be an ironic question, but what does “smart” mean these days? We are surrounded by devices described as such, but do they all qualify? This week, I am trying a “smart hydration reminder” called Ulla (£30, ulla.io ). It is a Tamagotchi-like bullet that clips to the side of any water bottle and flashes every hour or so, to remind you to drink. Hardly an iPhone, is it? It sounds more on a level with Glacéau Smartwater (Coca-Cola’s bottled water that is distilled, removing minerals from the water, before having minerals added. Amazing times.) In fairness, there is more going on here than meets the eye. A proximity sensor, to be specific. It detects when you leave the bottle and then return to the area around it, at which point a little white light blinks furiously. There is also an accelerometer that knows when you have lifted the bottle for a sip, marking the event by pulsing the light once. I like this feature, which feels like appeasing a beast. The device knows when you last drank; before an hour is up, it will blink again, reminding you to take another sip. Do we need smart devices to remind us to attend to basic biological imperatives? In short, yes. Ulla could have been designed with me in mind. I drink a thimbleful of water a day, as a byproduct of eating gummy bears. There may also be water in cheese; who knows? No one has been able to confirm whether tea is hydrating or dehydrating , so I am in the dark on that one. The fact is that I find drinking water boring, so I don’t. I confuse thirst with hunger or tiredness, the upshot being that I am a slugabed with bad skin who can’t cry. I know I should drink more, but it is no use telling me. I make bad decisions, because I am dehydrated. I would love to be an athletic type, who wears his Chilly’s bottle slung low when not swigging from it. Can this device turn me into such a hero? In short, no. Ulla is more suited to office types, who keep a bottle on their desk. The motion sensor and timer work best when less portable and more visible. I did try it on the go and occasionally was aware of a flash in my tote bag, but most of the time I missed it. It is far more effective sitting next to a computer, in your field of vision – the blinking capturing your attention without disrupting others. If I leave a room and re-enter, the device bats its lashes, and I take a dutiful sip that I wouldn’t otherwise. The Ulla is hardy, too, surviving an overnight chilling in the fridge and flashing me as soon as I open the door. To my surprise, I appreciate how relatively lo-tech it is. It comes with a rubber band that fits around any water bottle, on to which […]

Full article on original web page… www.theguardian.com

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