Developed in a partnership between Finnish coffee roaster Paulig and the TBWA\Helsinki advertising agency, the Muki coffee mug is a new type of smartmug that offers users the ability to upload any graphic from their smartphone to the e-paper screen built into the side of the mug. Specifically powered by the heat energy of the liquid within the mug, the e-paper display powers up long enough to receive an image uploaded from the smartphone using the Muki mobile application. Images can be pulled through the application from the smartphone’s photo library, Facebook or Instagram.
In the example video, the user is shown browsing through the library of photos on their smartphone and uploading personal photos. Of course, images with text can also be uploaded in order to display an inspirational message or perhaps the user’s favorite comic strip. Assuming the coffee is hot enough to continue powering the display, the user can continue to swap out images while sitting in the office or at a local coffee shop. However, it’s unlikely that the user would show friends the image on the cup when their smartphone offers a full color, high resolution version of the image.
Interestingly, the creators of the Muki mug have also included a temperature sensor that works with the smartphone application. Muki owners can look at the mug to see if the coffee is too hot or perhaps too cool to drink. Coffee is frequently served at temperatures between 160°F (71.1°C) and 185°F (85°C), thus checking on the current temperature can help avoid burning the mouth when taking a sip.
At the moment, the Muki mug isn’t available for public purchase yet. However, the two companies are running a beta test with 2,500 participants. Assuming the beta test of the hardware goes well, the Muki mug will be made available for purchase during 2015 within Finland. It may also be distributed within other countries depending on the demand.