February 17, 2014

Ideas Worth Backing: The Smart Lid

Dennis O'Donnell

Ideas worth backing: The Smart Lid
Hey, readers!

We’re incredibly excited to announce “Ideas Worth Backing”, a brand new monthly feature for our blog. Every month, we’ll be hunting down and helping to fund an awesome idea or clever invention on crowd funding sites that we think is worth your attention (and maybe a contribution, too!) We want to celebrate and encourage innovation, and we think this is just one small way to do that. Found a project you think we should know about? We want to hear from you in the comments!

It’s the hot beverage dilemma: You’ve just been handed your fresh cup of (insert hot beverage here), and you’re stuck taking baby sips to test its temperature, repeatedly burning your taste buds.


Sound familiar?

We’ve been there. Especially in the car. More times than we care to remember. Needless to say, Eric and I feel pretty strongly that any product where the instructions read “Burn your mouth over and over until desired temperature is reached” is a product with problems ripe for creative solutions.

That’s why we couldn’t wait, in all our caffeinated glory, to share the cure for our hot beverage dilemma woes, and the new Indiegogo project we’re backing this month: Smart Lid.

What Makes Smart Lid So… Smart?

Smart Lid is a heat sensitive, color changing, disposable beverage lid. For beverages at or above 120°F/48°C (the temperature with a nasty habit of burning people), Smart Lid glows a fiery red. When cooled to a safe, drinkable temperature, the lid darkens.

Here’s a pretty accurate review of the product from CNET: “Smart Lid silently screams, ‘hot coffee!’” If fiery red isn’t the color that ‘silently screams’, we’re not sure what is.

But what about spills? Whether or not we’d like to admit it, I think we’ve all dumped something on ourselves by grabbing at a lid that wasn’t fastened on or tilting a cup with a loose lid.

Smart Lid has thought of that, too. If the Smart Lid isn’t applied correctly, the Lid won’t activate, alerting the drinker that it’s not secure.

See the magic for yourself:


It’s About More Than Singed Taste Buds…

A mouthful of too-hot coffee is a common problem, but sometimes, spilling a hot beverage has more serious consequences.

At optimal brewing, most coffees reach 180°. That’s not quite “molten-lava hot”, but when it’s spilling in your lap, it’s hard to tell the difference. Your last thought will be the fact that you forked over $5.50 for that brew.

The Burn Foundation shares this alarming statistic: over 500,000 scald burns from hot liquids occur annually in the US alone – most of which are completely preventable. Smart Lid can help curb that trend.

But something else we like a whole lot is how incredibly beneficial Smart Lid can be for the disabled. Consider those with lifelong issues like essential tremor, quadriplegia, or other diagnoses that inspire shakiness, loss of sensation and limited function.

Those with these conditions are at an increased risk of scalding themselves – a piping hot cup of coffee could be an absolute landmine! Smart Lid allows this demographic to know whether or not the liquid is still hot before they reach to touch it – something those with a loss of sensation may not have been able to tell before.

And if that hasn’t convinced you, there’s even research discovering linkage between consuming “scalding” hot beverages and an increased risk for esophageal cancer, due to the chronic inflammation of cells from drinking liquids too hot.

How Did Smart Lid Get Started?

The idea for Smart Lid was conceived over a decade ago by the Bayss family: a father and two sons who owned and operated cafés in Sydney, Australia. Their wish was simple: they wanted a lid that warned of its cup’s contents.

After twelve years in the making — and several pesky naysayers telling them it wasn’t possible — Smart Lid began commercial distribution to cafés across Australia six months ago. It’s quite literally the lid for café owners, by café owners.

Says co-founder Anthony Bayss, “The greatest response we got, though, wasn’t from the cafés themselves, but from the coffee drinkers who were actually using the lids. It became obvious that we needed to reach the rest of the world, so we turned to crowdfunding.”

The Smart Lid Indiegogo campaign sprung to life after an outpouring of requests came in from American and European consumers for Smart Lids to use at home, in the office, or around elderly family members.

Requiring a change in product assembly and distribution, The Smart Lid set its crowdfunding goal at $8,000 – the minimum needed. At the time of this blog post, the campaign had raised over $8,500, with nearly 20 days remaining.

Jumping on the Smart Lid Train

We think Smart Lid a thoughtful invention for just about anyone – from the small child with hot chocolate to the disabled with a lack of sensation, and the elderly with decreased function, to your everyday coffee drinker who just wants to safely drive to work and stop burning their tongue every time they go in for a sip.

Smart Lid has recognized the many applications for its creation too – partnering with the Children’s Burn Foundation in the United States.

“The Burn Foundation is on its way to introducing the Smart Lid to hospitals across the States as a burn prevention education tool,” says Anthony.

And as for the future of Smart Lid? “We’d like to see the product on retail shelves everywhere for all consumers to purchase.”

We’re with him, there. This is an invention we’d love to see on every cup of coffee in the world. It’s simple, intuitive, and user-friendly. We’re ready to rock our Starbucks cups with Smart Lids everyday.

How Clear-Coat is backing Smart Lid

An idea this good is well worth supporting. Clear-Coat is bucking in at the $45 level – where special edition lids that turn from green to white (some of our company colors) are the perk. You better believe this office will be teeming with hot beverages, colorful lids – and delightfully unburned taste buds.

There’s still time to support Smart Lid – the campaign goes until March 5th. If you’re like us and would rather taste the things you drink (and avoid wearing them), think about giving Smart Lid your support!

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