Muggino™: World's Best SmartMug; Always Drink at Your Heat
Muggino™ is a smart mug that keeps drinks in your favorite temp zone via iPhone, conserves energy from waste heat, and charges devices.
Think about this little fact:
People and businesses pay for the energy required to heat a beverage, but as soon as it is poured everyone always waits until it cools down enough to be drinkable. Where did the money and energy go? To waste, of course.
Every day more than 4,000,000,000 (four billion) cups of hot beverages are consumed around the world, and energy is wasted from the instant the liquid has reached the mug until it has cooled to a comfortable temperature. Enough energy is wasted to provide domestic electricity for more than 6,000,000 (six million) people. It is time to stop throwing this energy away.
Using advanced thermoelectric technology, Muggino™ was invented to harvest the wasted energy from hot beverages as they cool, and re-use it for many purposes. From heating the same drink back up during a long meeting to charging a phone or cooling down a beer, Muggino converts wasted energy into something useful. Users control Muggino and help it learn through the elegant interface of their smartphone or tablet.
Muggino™: Eco-friendly SmartMug. Always Drink at Your Heat
How Muggino™ Works
After filling a mug with a nice hot beverage the average person usually lets it sit. Some take a quick, painful, noisy slurp, burn their lips and tongue, then wait like the rest. They wait, until their scalding hot beverage bleeds off the heat and reaches a drinkable temperature (typically 140 °F/ 60 °C).
During that time about one-third of the energy expended to heat up the drink in the first place goes to waste … something around 150 thermal watts. This is where Muggino smartly harvests its power.
Muggino is a double-wall mug, a design which consumers have already embraced. The inner wall is constructed of food-grade stainless steel, but the similarities to old technology end there. Muggino’s outer body is manufactured from a special aluminium alloy, which possesses an extremely efficient heat dissipation property, similar to the heat-sinks found regulating temperature atop computer CPUs.
Tightly sandwiched between Muggino’s two walls, in specific areas, are thermoelectric modules (TEs). TEs are remarkable devices. They convert temperature difference (heat) to electricity without noise, movement, or pollution. And even more fascinating, they work in reverse: when electricity is applied TEs create temperature difference (heating and cooling).
And resting underneath Muggino, embodied within pleasing, simple, long-lasting, modern industrial design aesthetics, are truly trail-blazing systems: high-agility temperature sensors, communication nodes for smart device interface, a TMPPT (Thermoelectric Maximum Power Point Tracker) unit, rechargeable battery, battery charge controller, retractable phone charging cable and charge controller, inductive rechargeable receiver coil and controller, and other proprietary features.
To prevent unwanted convection, empty spaces between the two walls are filled with a special, light, eco-friendly insulation.
All of this may lead one to imagine nothing but a heavy mug, but no. Muggino weighs the same or less than a similarly sized porcelain mug. How is this possible? The same technology that makes for lighter laptops, smart devices, and other modern portable technology means Muggino was not invented to help develop users’ biceps.
Once a hot liquid touches the inner wall, sensors instantly gauge the temperature as the control unit compares it to the user’s preferences. If too hot, Muggino harvests what in any other mug is waste heat–already passing through the TE modules–converts it to electricity, and stores it in the battery. When the liquid reaches the user’s optimal temperature, Muggino keeps it there using its agile and efficient heating system.
And a similar process applies to cold beverages.
The user opens MuggiApp to adjust preferences at will, or to check temperature data on the current drink and remaining energy in Muggino’s battery.
How MuggiPad™ Charges Muggino™
Muggino’s wireless charging system uses electromagnetic induction, or inductive charging. A copper coil inside the MuggiPad creates a magnetic field when connected to a power source such as a USB port. The field induces an electric current which charges Muggino’s battery under supervision of the control unit.
Advantages of Muggino’s wireless charging system:
- Significantly easier and more convenient than systems requiring extra wires
- Robust and durable: no extra sockets, plugs, and attaching cables, means no wear and tear with constant plugging and unplugging
- Protected connections: Muggino is meant for liquids. Wireless charging is safer and doesn't risk corrosion
- No sparks or debris: wired connections are magnets for lint and other debris, contributing to risk of sparks between metal connectors
- Reduced costs: the multiple cables and connectors of old, wired tech mean multiplied replacement costs
- Relatively inexpensive: especially over time, wireless charging trumps other alternatives.
Where Else TE Technology Is Being Used
These days, both for power generation and cooling, thermoelectric modules are becoming widely used.
- Silent electronic refrigerators: car refrigerators, minibars, portable camping coolers…
- Climate control seats
- Micro cooling systems: cooling tiny electronic components
- Energy harvesting sensors: intelligent patch for supervision of stressed structures in aircraft
- Small power generators: in wearable things, using human body heat
- Automotive industry: BMW using thermoelectric in his i8 model, waste heat recovery from exhaust
- Space probes: electricity generation using (RTG) and cooling precise instruments such as components of the ChemCam in the Curiosity Mars rover.
We know from personal experience, education, and thorough research that those teams which forget to maintain motivation and balance lose sight of the end-goal. We are committed to agile methods that combine creativity and professionalism so that quality is maintained at a maximum without undue delays. How is this possible? By separating tasks and challenges into defined, achievable goals, and then recognizing immediately when any time slippage occurs. The difference between knowing in advance and preparing for the fact that unexpected things happen in the real world is the difference between letting a project fall apart when challenges arise versus seeing it through to finished product in the boxes.
In today’s crowd funding sector we have an extra advantage: you.
We promise complete transparency and regular communication with our backers. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do, and it has the added benefit of forcing us to level with ourselves every step of the way. Whether it be creative talent, pure business number-crunching, regulatory hurdles, or any combination of these and other aspects of bringing Muggino to life and into the homes and offices and hands of our backers and future customers, maintaining the discipline to express what is going on to you will help keep every single individual on our team on track, right up until the day you get to open that box.
Making an electronic device dishwasher safe is extremely difficult, mostly because of the risk in exposing electronic components, especially the battery, to high temperature for extended periods…at times more than one hour. Although building a dishwasher safe Muggino would be an outstanding feature, we decided the attempt would waylay our existing rapid progress in bringing Muggino to life. So we focused research and development on key features minus the dishwasher element, and we achieved our first prototype.
We then did decide we have reached enough essential milestones to dedicate some resources investigating the potential for a dishwasher safe version. This led to a breakthrough concept, which we are in the process of refining.
However, that is not our current priority. We will not risk interrupting existing momentum on an untested innovation, thereby introducing added costs, and uncertainties into the timeline of producing the first consumer Muggino. All of that stated, we estimate the cost of adding the feature of being dishwasher safe would require us to achieve $1.8 million. Should we reach such a volume in this campaign we will be able to confidently add research and development capacity to the team, freeing us to attempt adding Dishwasher Safe to the feature list for the launch of the classic Muggino, with sacrificing the schedule by one or two months.
Risks and challenges
We have worked hard to bring Muggino to life, but there may be some challenges before bringing it to your hands:
Design for Manufacturability: We have tested initial prototype of Muggino in every stage to ensure it works perfectly. However, Muggino for mass production will need added care in design to meet manufacturing requirements. Our industrial designers may need to refine some parts to fit better. Such challenges while generally anticipated are impossible to predict in advance with a high degree of accuracy. For our valuable backers this means that while we will work to avoid any delays, some are possible and as such we must acknowledge the possibility in advance. In addition to keeping our backers up to date, we will make sure to minimize changes during this process to preserve the original design.
Fabrication process: Volume fabrication is complex and involves significant manpower and machinery. Components have to work together for the job to be finished on time. In project management on this scope, it must be understood that a delay in one part can lead to bottlenecks along the production line, resulting in greater delays to the process as a whole. We follow modern techniques that minimize such potential bottlenecks, including preparing “Plan Bs” for all jobs. Key personnel are experienced and talented at minimising the potential for unexpected delays, but we also believe in being ready at all times for the unexpected. When anything unplanned arises, we are and will stay poised to keep its effect on the next milestone to a minimum, and we will keep our backers updated throughout the project.
Certifications and licences: We designed Muggino knowing that any material coming in contact with beverages must meet food-grade standards. However different countries maintain different definitions of such standards. One of our challenges is to obtain full certification for the international sale and distribution of Muggino. Unlike many other home appliances which work with AC electricity, Muggino works with DC power and for this reason, fortunately, we do not need to follow certain restricted rules for AC appliances. We believe the most cost effective strategy will be to interview and select a company specializing in such international certification early on in our remaining milestones, and engage its services in planning for and obtaining necessary certificates (food and electricity) for Muggino.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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