If you like the idea, please link to it from your blog and feel free to add any thoughts on design or use. My hope is that if Camelbak, Jansport, Kelty, EMS, Deuter, North Face, Polar, etc., see a thousand bloggers linking to it, the market demand will be clear. My goal is simply this - get some new cool toys on the market!
Product Idea - The Camelbak© Fluid Intake Monitor
Every endurance athlete knows that carefully monitoring your fluid intake can be the difference between a great race and a DNF. So why hasn't anyone created a fluid monitor that can help you measure and track your hourly intake?
A fluid intake monitor could help you measure and understand your fluid intake in different climates. Similar to a heart rate monitor, you could measure your pace, then put in a desired pace and be alerted if you are over/under. The monitor would also tell you when your last "sip" was and how much you drank.
The buttons on the side could be used for other settings too, such as manual entry for liquids consumed at aid stations (flat Coke!), setting notifications for salt tablets (either hourly or based on fluid intake, such as "alert me every 30 oz"), or adjusting your target rate based on temperature.
Let's use me as a case example. Once I moved up to the ultras, I experimented on training runs to find that 28 oz/hour is my ideal rate for a typical California day (low elevation, less than 70 degrees). By "ideal rate", I mean that I feel good, don't have water sloshing in my stomach, am peeing regularly, and after a 2-3 hour run, my weight is about the same as when I started. A Fluid Intake Monitor could have helped me measure this and dial in my ideal rate at various conditions, as well as measure it during races to make sure I'm keeping pace. I would definitely set alarms for salt tablets too, since I prefer to drink water. I could easily see the alerts reminding me to drink as I began spacing off in the latter half of the race, keeping me from getting into too much trouble.
My engineering buddies tell me that a simple fluid monitor running on a single AAA battery could be constructed for less than $25, but that fluid monitors are known to have all kinds of issues (clogging, sticking, etc.). If somebody like Camelbak could make it reliable, I wouldn't have any trouble dropping $100-150 on something like this. I spent well over that on my Polar S720, and I consider it one of the better investments I have made in training equipment.
Thanks in advance to all of you for your feedback!