Of all the odd patents I’ve seen from camera companies, this one is near the top of the list.
A recent patent application from Nikon (USPTO No. 14/407,791) reveals that the company has developed a smart water bottle that communicates via NFC with a smart watch (like the Apple Watch) to both measure the fluid intake from the body and can communicate with a health app to determine if the person needs to take in more fluid.
The patent further specifies the ability to use the camera from a mobile device as a “sweating estimation unit” and bases the liquid intake on the volume of liquid removed from the bottle using a weight sensor at the bottom of the bottle.
Additionally, the patent application notes that the “control unit confirms the liquid intake amount of the user and the condition of the user (an output of the biometric sensor or a thermo-hygrograph sensor, a current position of the user detected by the GPS module, and a current date detected by the clock unit), and updates the user information table and the liquid intake table.”
But the invention goes beyond a dedicated water bottle and suggests the same calculations can be made using Nikon’s liquid intake app for other cups, bottled sports drinks and even alcohol. In these cases, the goal is to measure salt, sugar and even alcohol intake quantities and provide that information to the user.
“When a user puts on a device having an intra-body communication function or a near field communication function and a liquid container that user users has a communication function, a total intake amount of the user can be recorded automatically even if a house cup is used, a cup at a workplace is used or a drink in bought.”
While this technology has the potential to be very cool, I’m not one who is going to pay hundreds of dollars for smart water bottles. However, if Nikon, or another licensee, can make the technology work without a dedicated water bottle, it could be very helpful to help people understand just how much junk we are consuming from sugary drinks.