prev next

There are loads of to-go containers that promise to keep your coffee piping hot till you reach the office—that “science” is nothing new. But do any of them keep warm using kinetic energy? We’ll answer that for you: no.

At least not until the new R-CUP, a Red Dot Award-winning thermos. Here’s how it works: The inner lid of the cup contains a rotating heating device, which is controlled by a swinging red ball attached to the lid. Swinging the ball drives internal rotation, generating heat to warm your drink.

R-CUP deviates from traditional thermoses, which keep drinks warm by slowing heat loss. Your average thermos is wrapped in two walls, while a vacuum in between prevents heat transfer. However, chips, dents, and wear and tear can affect the vacuum’s seal. As a result, most thermoses only keep liquids warm for about three hours. Though R-CUP incorporates this traditional insulation, it can also reheat drinks—reducing waste and allowing users to venture far away from microwaves or kettles.

Designer Wang Jin seems to have borrowed inspiration from hand-powered survival tools, such as crank flashlights and radios. Though these gadgets are more often associated with camping trips, their technology holds remarkable potential for consumer products, as people fight to untether from chargers and appliances.

Though R-CUP is still just a concept, its kinetic-energy application gives us hope that, one day, we’ll enjoy warm coffee on our own terms.

Photos courtesy of Red Dot