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Just Add Water

Smart Cups Debuts the 3D Printed Energy Drink

Picture of Matthew Mensley
by Matthew Mensley
Dec 16, 2017

Shipping empty biodegradable plastic cups with 3D printed polycapsule flavors, are Smart Cups the future of thirst quenching? Just add water.

Smart Cups, a SoCal-based startup, has just unveiled its debut innovation to the world. A product line that takes the company name too, the initial offering is a four-flavor range of Smart Cups Energy Drinks. So far, so ordinary. But the kicker here is that Smart Cups make use of 3D printing inside each and every cup.

Developed by entrepreneur Chris Kanik, in partnership with Sal Celeste of The Additive Advantage — a microencapsulation tech company — Smart Cups presents everyday beverages in empty biodegradable cups. With the addition of water, an effervescent 3D printed layer at the bottom of the cup self-mixes with the water. The result, the company implies, is a soft drink just as you’d find from a bottle.

It’s all possible thanks to the microcapsule layer in each cup. The tech is traditionally used in medical fields, with the Additive Advantage long time specialists in the field.

Solids, liquids and gases are trapped within a soluble polymer shell. Contact with water releases them and, in the case of Smart Cups and its trademarked Katalyxt (microcapsule layer), transforms water into a variety of flavorful drinks.

Off the top of our heads, this is the first consumable product to come to market that makes use of 3D printing tech in such a way that could have meaningful impact on our world. At launch, Smart Cups offers Tropical Recess, Nerdy Lemon-T, Pucker Up Brain Boost and Magna Cum Latte flavors.

3D Printing Energy Drinks Could Save the Planet?

Okay, somewhat of a stretch with that sub-headline, but it’s too easy to overlook the impact repackaging the drinks we consume in the way could have.

A pile of these stackable cups has the same, if not smaller footprint than its filled-bottle brethren. A truck full of Smart Cups could be transporting tenfold the number of drinks versus traditional pallets filled with bottles. Not only could you transport a magnitude more of drinks, but at a fraction of the weight too.

Add to this the eco-friendliness of biodegradable plastics used for the cup itself, meaning less post-consumer waste to worry about, and we foresee the potential for a seismic shift toward environmental-friendliness.

Such changes of course, would require established drinks companies to jump over to Smart Cup’s proprietary system. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll see cheery winter folk on TV at Christmas time, pouring water into their Coca Cola Smart Cups instead of swigging from bright red bottles.

Currently, Smart Cups are only available on the Smart Cups website.

Source: Press release

License: The text of "Smart Cups Debuts the 3D Printed Energy Drink" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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