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Gululu is a water bottle from our insane, adorable future

It's a well-documented fact that most adults don't drink enough water each day. Some of that can be fixed with some focus and documentation, but the easiest way to get an adult to drink enough water each day is by making it a part of their routine as a child. Getting kids to drink the right amount of water each day is incredibly important, especially when surrounded by so many other choices each day.

Bowhead Technology believes the answer to teaching kids to drink the right amount of water each day is embedding an animated pet into the side of an absurdly high-tech water bottle and turning it into a game. It's called Gululu, and for the last 10 days we've been testing this system with one of our kids to see what happens.

Gululu

Gululu is a durable-looking water bottle with a small display on the front. One of several small "pets" floats around on the screen and interacts with your child as the water bottle gets used. It's happy when you take a drink, gets dizzy when you shake the bottle around, and will do tricks if you swipe your hand up and down on the two touch-sensitive stripes on either side of the bottle. As the bottle gets used over time, the pet grows and becomes more capable, encouraging the child to continue drinking from the bottle throughout the day.

By the end of the first week there was a noticeable increase in how much water she was drinking, and a lot of it had to do with wanting to interact with the pet on her bottle.

At the end of each day, the progress is stored and synced to the phone where more information is available. Parents can set school hours where the bottle can't be used as a toy but still used to track consumption, sleep mode where the screen is set to its lowest brightness to avoid distractions or accidentally waking the child, and a social system for connecting multiple kids with Gululu bottles. The social connection allows kids to see each other's scores, and makes it possible for one Gululu pet to visit another when two bottles are set next to one another.

As crazy and complicated as this bottle sounds, it works. It took three days for our test subject — she says I'm supposed to say "daughter," but whatever — to figure out the best way to get the most results out of her pet. By the end of the first week there was a noticeable increase in how much water she was drinking, and a lot of it had to do with wanting to interact with the pet on her bottle. She doesn't go anywhere without the bottle now, and is constantly aware of how much water is left in the bottle. In the brief period she's been using Gululu, she became more aware of her water intake than each of her siblings.

There are some obvious drawbacks to using something like Gululu. For starters, it's a battery-powered water bottle. While it seems like Bowhead has done a great job ruggedizing the computer inside, it's still a water bottle that needs to be charged on a regular basis. Gululu claims a full charge will last up to four days of normal use, but frequently the bottle we've been testing has needed to go back on the charger after two days. The wireless charging cradle used to keep Gululu powered is simple enough for anyone to use, and includes a small fish animation to show how close to fully charged Gululu is. It's the kind of thing you could keep on a kitchen counter and never really have to think about, but the battery could certainly be better.

Gululu

Gululu is not exactly cheap, either. Bowhead's Kickstarter is asking $99 for a single bottle, available in five different colors. There's an $89 Early Bird special for those who decide they need to have one right this second, but that's still almost $100 for a water bottle being used by a child. Gululu has done a great job demonstrating just how functional the idea is, especially if you have a child who isn't drinking enough water every day. The Kickstarter is aiming to ship by September, and judging from the early kit we've been testing the company shouldn't have a lot of problem delivering a finished product by then. In the mean time, go drink more water.

Check out Gululu on Kickstarter

Russell is a Contributing Editor at Android Central. He's a former server admin who has been using Android since the HTC G1, and quite literally wrote the book on Android tablets. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Find him on Facebook and Twitter

26 Comments
  • I wish I didn't drink so much water. When I was younger I went without water for two days and now it's like a phobia I have. AT&T Galaxy S7 Onyx Black with Unlimited Data
  • Last week? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Why did you go 2 days without water?
    Just curious Hail Lord Han
  • 'Test subject' - heh heh, I like that...
  • Introduce a piece of technology to encourage someone to do something they should be doing to survive. I can't knock people for trying new things but for me, its simple. How about parents encourage their kids to drink water with every meal and have a water bottle handy whenever you are out of the house?
  • That's crazy talk. +1 Posted via the Android Central App
  • People don't want to take personal responsibility anymore, smh. Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • Does it come with a Gululu High Tech Road Trip toilet??
  • When you need water, you'll be thirsty, it's called evolution people. http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/08/25/upshot/no-you-do-not-have-to-drink-...
  • I came here to say more or less this. The easiest way to get an adult to drink water is to wait until he's thirsty.
  • It is not a well documented fact AT ALL. Posted via the Android Central App
  • This! It's a myth actually, even documented on snopes: http://www.snopes.com/medical/myths/8glasses.asp
  • Lol got him Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • Not sure where I said people need to drink 8 glasses of water a day, or where this product said people need to drink 8 glasses of water a day, but sure let's use a vaguely related Snopes article to defend a point no one was arguing to begin with. Posted via the Android Central App
  • It goes toward your statement, "It's a well-documented fact that most adults don't drink enough water each day." which one would usually construe as the basic premise of the article yet in which Snopes refutes as a myth. Point being if you're going to make an article like this it shouldn't be based on a myth.
  • Snopes found that the whole "8 glasses a day" thing was bunk, which I agree with. You took my intro and ran with it, overreacting based on an assumption. It's OK. Posted via the Android Central App
  • The easiest way to get an adult to drink water is to wait until he's thirsty. But keep propagating your FUD.
  • Now we need a Breathe-app, with sensor, telling us when and how to breathe!
  • Are you kidding with this???? Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • For a while I used an app to track how much water I was drinking and remind me to drink. Most days I found I reached the goal naturally with no real effort, and in the end got bored of telling the app how much I was drinking. If you're into fitness or need to stay hydrated for whatever reason (I don't really) I can see the value of having a bottle that automatically tracks your intake rather than you having to enter the amounts yourself. As for one for kids? Not my area of expertise, but maybe it could encourage drinking water instead of sugary drinks. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Children love four lokos Hail Lord Han
  • How we got our 5 children to drink water regularly: Them: "Can we have some juice?"
    Us: "No, drink water"
    No drinks in the house except water and breakfast coffee. *add a few ice cubes" and DONE. All of our children and even grand daughter love water... I guess it's all in how and when parents start them on enjoying it.
  • I think this is a really cool idea. Too expensive right now, but maybe by Gululu 2 it'll be more feasible. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I love how people who apparently have kids are saying "to get kids to do something all you have to do is ...." I wish it were that simple,. I live in a tropical climate and believe it or not kids sometimes neglect to stay properly hydrated even though you give them a water bottle, even though you don't have sugary drinks at home, even though you talk constantly about drinking water. This bottle is not the solution but I wouldn't have minded having it in my arsenal when my kids were growing up as most parents know pairing happy experiences with desired behaviors tends to make that behavior stick, and Russel's daughter seemed to have fun. Parenting is not a one solution or one approach kind of thing,.
  • ^^Good comment :)
  • Glug Glug would have been a better name! I thank you!! Where's everybody gone?
    I only came back for this. HELLOhhh. :(