The Hug is a convenient sensor + app solution that tracks your water intake and coaches you towards optimal hydration. Read more
This project's funding goal was not reached on September 5, 2014.
About this project
The Kickstarter campaign has ended, but please sign up here to get more info on when and where The Hug will become available. Thanks and big hugs to all our pledgers!
Need a Hug?
What is a healthy life to you? Is it being able to perform better at school, the gym, or even the office? Is it minimizing risks of different ailments? Or is it just simply feeling better every day?
Most people simply don’t drink enough water and are constantly dehydrated without even realising it. Not only does dehydration decrease mental and physical performance, but it also makes us more likely to get sick.
The Hug is a convenient solution that helps you stay properly hydrated. It consists of a sensor band and a companion iOS app. Just slip The Hug sensor around pretty much any water bottle and connect it to an iOS device.
Using motion data and algorithms, The Hug sensor tracks the amount of water you drink, giving you automatic reminders via the sensor band and the iOS app to make sure you maintain optimal hydration. Think of it as your personal hydration coach, aiming to change your hydration habits!
What people are saying
“The Hug is an innovative device that is easy to use, helping to track daily water intakes. This is invaluable given that most of us don’t drink enough water which can often lead us feeling tired, fatigued and not performing at our best - both in body and mind. The Hug has been carefully designed taking latest scientific evidence on board which makes it a great product.”
- Dr Emma Derbyshire, PhD, RNut Founder of Nutritional Insight Ltd
Why is hydration so important?
How does The Hug work?
The Hug is a solution consisting of a sensor band that is slipped around your water bottle, and a companion mobile app that coaches you towards optimal hydration. Popular wearable devices have been able to change their users' exercise and sleep habits by offering effortless data tracking, motivational feedback and results. The Hug aims to change your hydration habits and help you lead a healthier, more active life.
We are on the forefront of developing a sensor for indirect liquid intake tracking. Using accelerometer technology and algorithms to learn the amount of liquid that the user drinks from the bottle, we indirectly measure your fluid consumption. The sensor uses accelerometer data to track specific movements related to drinking, and our algorithm learns to recognize specific patterns unique to your drinking habits. The algorithm filters out other movements, so you don't have to worry about the times the bottle is in your gym bag as you're running to make the next train.
The Hug sensor embraces your bottle
The Hug sensor is a flexible band which fits around nearly any water bottle. It monitors the amount of water (or any other liquid) you drink from the bottle and sends this data to an iOS application.
The Hug sensor...
...fits your existing bottles. The Hug sensor fits most bottles, so you can use it with the one you already have. Bottle material does not make a difference (metal, plastic, glass...everything goes), but currently the sensor is optimized for bottles with a diameter of 2.16"-3.14" inches (55-80 millimeters) and an approximate volume of 13-25 fl oz (400-750 millilitres).
...communicates wirelessly. The Hug sensor uses the latest Bluetooth Low Energy (4.0) technology – a very energy efficient play – to connect with your phone.
...connects to iPhone and the like. Works with your favorite iOS devices (iPhone 4s/5/5s, iPad Mini 3rd gen and up, iPod Touch 5th generation and up). The Hug does not have an Android app yet, and for now the focus is on iOS.
...is charged by USB. The sensor juices up via micro USB - but don't worry, there is no need to plug your it in every day, as the current prototypes last up to a full week. By the time we ship we expect this to be even greater.
The Hug app lives in your iPhone
The Hug application...
...knows you and your needs. Based on your stats (weight, age, gender etc), it calculates an optimal "base rate" for your hydration. It also takes into account the local climate (temperature). The hotter it gets, the more you need to drink.
...pushes you on the right track. The app follows your hydration status, and sends push notifications in case you're not keeping up with the optimal rate. Notification intervals are adjustable to your own preferences.
...receives drink data automatically. The Hug sensor sends drinking data to the app, so that you don't have to do manual inputs.
...connects with other apps you like. The Hug App links with FitBit and RunKeeper APIs, so that you know how much to drink to replenish your body after exercising. More connected apps are on the way! The Hug API is under development, so that other applications can benefit from our hydration insights.
...shows you relevant data. You are able to view your hydration/activity history on a visual interface. It's motivating to know how well you've been doing in the past!
...supports both imperial and metric systems. You can choose either US units or the European system. We don't take sides here!
...doesn't cost a dime. Download The Hug application for free from the AppStore when you receive The Hug band. It will be available well in advance before the sensors ship.
Meet the team
The Caktus founding team consists of a group of dudes from Finland. Panu takes care of the business aspect, Heikki is the electronics-whiz, Tappi turns napkin sketches into tangible products and Olli handles mobile development. Most of us have founded companies before and some of Tappi's products are currently in the market (i.e. Wishbhone). On the extended team we also have Tiambi (business development) in the Netherlands and David (strategy) in the US helping out.
In the spring of 2013 Caktus was accepted into a startup accelerator program in the US, and the founders moved over to NYC for the program. When the program ended, the team moved back to Finland, went lean and set its sights on a Kickstarter campaign. To this end, we've been working on a solution for hydration problems for well over a year, and now we're finally ready to turn to YOU to help make The Hug real. Please claim your own Hug and don't forget to tell your friends and family to do the same!
The origin of The Hug lies in our own stories of personal hydration problems.
Panu, our CEO noticed that he was often powerless and tired – whether at the gym, in the outdoors, or at the office and he couldn't figure out why. It took the insight of a loved one, namely his girlfriend, to tell him it was probably because he was not drinking enough water. And you know what? She was absolutely right. Panu noticed a significant change in his energy levels on the days he kept up with hydration. Training at the gym was more efficient, concentration improved and he did not feel so tired at the office.
COO Tappi loves coffee to the detriment of all else. But what began to happen is that he noticed the same problems that Panu had overcome, added with constant headaches. Tappi slowly switched from a cup of joe to a cup of H2O and noticed a change right away. To his surprise, he was feeling more energised despite drinking less coffee!
After talking to a lot of people, the guys realized that they were not the only ones struggling with problems caused by dehydration. People complained of dry skin, tension, bad moods etc. Quite a few also had ailments (i.e. kidney stones) that would have required them to drink more water. The strange thing was that people were often aware that they did not drink enough water and knew how it affected them. We decided to develop a product that can help coach people towards balanced hydration and change their hydration habits. So, now YOU have the chance to be among the very first to use The Hug and take those important steps towards healthy hydration!
Over the past 14 months, we've built a handful of functional prototypes, but now we finally have a prototype ready that allows manufacturing of the very first batch of The Hug hardware. First version of the iOS app has been ready for a while, functional and tested by users in closed Alpha using Testflight. However, we are working on a new app design to improve usability. We have all the core functionality in the algorithm, but are constantly tweaking it further as we collect more data. Our prototypes out in the field are collecting data to help us identify different drinking behavior and classify movement into non-drinking (i.e. bottle in transport etc) and drinking events. At the beginning of September we'll send out a prototype batch of 100 Hugs to a corporate healthcare pilot in Mexico.
Summer 2012: Idea was born
Fall 2012: User research, concepting, first dirty prototypes (Caktus won a hackathon weekend), attendance and pitch at Slush012 Startup Conference in Helsinki, first provisional patent filed
Winter 2012: Prototyping, first very early "sticks and bubblegum" versions of the app
Spring 2013: Prototyping, user research, acceptance to the TechLaunch startup accelerator program
Summer 2013: First functional prototype and form factor of The Hug solution, startup accelerator program completed
Fall 2013: Prototype iterations and testing, app development, relocation to Helsinki, Finland. Slush 2013 Startup conference.
Winter 2014: Prototype iteration and testing, API development, BT connection development, DFM
Spring 2014: Partnering with Dragon Innovation, troubleshooting DFM issues (i.e. going through 6 iterations of the casing design)
Summer 2014: Kickstarter!
Since we're a small startup, we teamed up with a larger player to ensure that our first customers receive a quality product. We chose Dragon Innovation to help us with manufacturing-related issues. They have reviewed our design, manufacturability and reliability and assisted in estimating the cost and minimum funding threshold. In short, The Hug is vetted by the pros (see the certificate here). Previously Dragon Innovation has worked with over 100 companies, including hardware prodigies such as Shifteo, MakerBot and Scout.
Technical specs of The+Hug sensor
-Connectivity: Bluegiga BLE 113 (Bluetooth 4.0 protocol)
-Battery: LiPo, recharges via micro USB
-The PCB also hosts a microprocessor and accelerometer
-Dimensions: Band diameter: 2.8" (71mm), height: 1.1" (28mm)
-Material and casings: The band consists of two casings, the actual band itself (Elastosil silicone), the spring part (Delrin plastic) and the electronics housing (ABS plastic). The design allows for easy, no-hassle detaching of the electronics component for recharging.
-Included: Micro USB charging cable
-Necessary certifications (FCC, CE) are budgeted and will be acquired after a successful campaign
-Color: Charcoal Grey/White
-The Hug app currently works works in iOS only. Depending on the success of the Kickstarter campaign, we might start developing an app for Android as well ;)
Manufacturing Project Schedule
August 2014: Kickstarter takes off, manufacturers lined up.
September 2014: Kickstarter campaign closes. Production prototype refining and testing. New version of API functionality under development.
October 2014: Production prototype testing continues. App design revision.
November 2014: Decision on the final manufacturer. Finalizing production prototype, tooling begins.
December 2014: Sample production of hardware, running FCC and CE tests. The Hug app in App Store.
January 2015: Manufacturing begins, test runs.
February 2015: Manufacturing and assembly
March 2015: Shipping to YOU!
Risks and challenges
Hardware is hard, and it would be naïve to think a project like this would go smoothly without glitches from beginning to end. Our goal is to deliver a high-quality product to our backers within the promised timeframe. We know that problems will arise, but will do our best to mitigate them early on. What follows below is a list of likely challenges and the actions that we have already taken to tackle them before they get get a chance to mess things up. We have previous experience with a Kickstarter hardware project (though with way less components) all the way from concepting to delivering the final product to the satisfied pledgers, so to some extent we can say that we've been here before.
Luckily we have Dragon Innovation as our manufacturing partner. They have thoroughly vetted The Hug and made sure it can be manufactured thorough a successful campaign. And yes, the good people at Dragon sure know their game; it actually took about three months for them to be satisfied and finally give us the green light!
-Manufacturing: Devices containing both electronics as well as physical casing require different manufacturers. Having different manufacturers adds complexity into the process as well as potentially unforeseen problems related to delivery times and quality issues. We have been in contact with various manufacturers both in the US and Europe, and have made sure that we have options ready should issues arise.
-Sourcing: We are using somewhat standard stuff when it comes to the electronic components, and we have already sourced several alternative providers. However, we are prepared for delays if we need to suddenly change providers.
-Shipping: We are expecting most of our orders to come from the US, but we know to expect some from Europe as well. At the moment we have a side office in Finland, which makes it a lot easier for us to coordinate and organise the logistics issues on the Old Continent. This way we hope to be able to deliver to our international backers as smoothly as possible.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Sorry, but we currently only have an iOS app. Developing the app itself on Android is not that big of a deal, but since we leverage HW on the phone (Bluetooth), that tends to cause a lot of additional kinks when trying to make things work over a spectrum of different Android devices. But that might still change; please help us reach our goal and unlock stretch goals... ;)
Sorry, no Windows Phone support planned... :(
Kickstarter does not allow us to bundle and pre-sell with "existing" products. But you can buy the bottles you see in our photos and video from retail. They are made by S'well.
Unfortunately it does not distinguish between liquids, but for the most part people are often drinking water from their own bottles. The Hug aims to encourage people into drinking more water. It has 0 kcal, unlike pretty much everything else you might wanna gulp down! :)
The Hug uses accelerometer data to estimate drink amounts, so there will always be error margins. It’s not an absolute form of measure. The same applies to FitBit and other accelerometer-based fitness (step) trackers.
With the sedentary prototypes (bottle on office desk, not in gym bag) we have been in the ballpark of 15% error margin. The new prototypes have been flashed with software that filters out non-drinking movements, i.e. when you have the bottle in a gym bag or you’re walking somewhere with the bottle in your hand. Or maybe have it on the bottle holder of your bike. The software is not flawless, and at the moment we are experiencing somewhere around 25% error margins with sensors that are carried around in bags etc. We will be able to improve this figure after we release 100 test units for a pilot and receive much more data, and there’s a significant time window until we ship the final products.
Please do notice that The Hug will never be 100% accurate, and that’s one of the reasons it’s a recreational, not medical, product. The Hug will give its user a ballpark idea of how much they are drinking, but the main aim of the band + app solution is to coach the user to change their hydration habits; in the same way as FitBit and the like encourage users to change their sleep and exercise habits through showing them data. These devices are not 100% accurate either but have still been able to provide significant value to their users. Our goal is to help users change their hydration habits!
- (31 days)