The story of the temperature controlled drinking mug

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As the COVID-19 pandemic enters the second year, with lock-downs, curfews and social distancing being the order of the day, people are finding new ways to regain equilibrium. As human needs in isolation become greater, there is a desire to escape the boredom and inertia, and people with spare time and money are increasingly searching for technological devices to ease their burden, ever more frivolous into the bargain.

One tech company has listed the top 10 most sought-after ‘wellbeing tech products’. These gadgets and gismos are seen as ‘must-have’ items by some consumers in better-off Northern and Western countries, but in many other places basic needs for water and sanitation are not being met.

There is not enough water to drink and to wash the hands.

In first place, smart rings produced a whopping 396,000 global Google searches. These devices have multiple functions from tracking your health to contactless payment and are designed to make life easier.

The second most searched for product is the air quality monitor with 104,500 Google searches, followed by the smart thermometer in third place with approximately 72,600 Google searches.

With gyms being mostly closed, people have switched to getting fit from inside their homes. Electric muscle stimulators had 50,600 Google searches.

With many couples having to quarantine separately, they have begun using couple vibrators, searched for 38,500 times.

Suggesting a possible baby boom in the months to follow, there were 16,500 Google searches for fertility monitors, making them the sixth most sought after wellbeing tech product.

To help de-stress, many people have turned to buying mist diffusers (13,200 Google searches) and therapy lamps (9,900 Google searches), respectively ranking seventh and eighth.

Office working has become a thing of the past for many people who now work from home and data suggests people tend to work harder and longer hours whilst at home. Perhaps this is the reason why there were 9,900 Google searches for kneading massagers as the long hours of working at the desk can lead to many back issues.

In tenth place is the temperature control mug (4,400 Google searches), which helps to keep your drink warm whilst working from home! Personally, I think I can manage well enough without one of these.

Insufficient water

In many regions of the world, the temperature controlled mug is not something many people are looking for. Frivolous doesn’t even come close. Higher on the list of priorities is finding enough water for hand washing and drinking.

What was that about kneading massagers, mist diffusers and temperature controlled mugs?

I must have been dreaming.

Hannah, D.M., Lynch, I., Mao, F. et al. Water and sanitation for all in a pandemic. Nat Sustain 3, 773–775 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-020-0593-7