Drink Water On Schedule Or Else Flood Your Desk

How much water have you had to drink today? We would venture to guess that the answer is somewhere between ‘absolutely none’ and ‘not not nearly enough’. You can go ahead and blame poor work/life balance — that’s our plan, anyway — and just try to do better. All this working from home means the bathroom situation is now ideal, so why not drink as much water as you can?

But how? Well, you’re human, so you’ll need to make it as easy as possible to drink the water throughout the day. You could fill up one big jug and hoist it to your mouth all day long (or use a straw), but facing that amount of water all at once can be intimidating. The problem with using a regular-sized vessel is that you have to get up to refill it several times per day. When hyper-focus is winning the work/life tug-of-war, you can’t always just stop and go to the kitchen. What you need is an automatic water dispenser, and you need it right there on the desk.

[Javier Rengel]’s water pomodoro makes it as easy as setting your cup down in front of this machine and leaving it there between sips. As long as the IR sensor detects your cup, it will dispense water every hour. This means that if you don’t drink enough water throughout the day, you’re going to have it all over the desk at some point. [Javier] simply connected an Arduino UNO to a water pump and IR sensor pair and repurposed the milk dispenser from a coffee machine. Check it out in action after the break.

Of course, if you aren’t intimidated by the big jug approach, you could keep tabs on your intake with the right kind of straw.

47 thoughts on “Drink Water On Schedule Or Else Flood Your Desk

    1. The fact that the body can continue to function (albeit sub-optimally) for days. Focusing on avoiding predators or pursuing prey would likely be more important. Focus overrides basic needs, at least to an extent.

      1. This. When focused on work, I often don’t notice thirst. Then I get first headache and only later realize that I should go drink some water, which then helps. But just having a water bottle on the table has been enough of a reminder for me.

  1. How much? About five quarts usually. But I’m a Timelord. Two hearts, and a respiratory bypass system, along with over 900 years of watching you humans do something right. Seriously Kristina that’s amazing idea and good for the award.

  2. Sorry Kristina but I drink the correct amount. How much? Enough to sate my thirst which is always the correct amount. Stop spreading the myth that people don’t drink enough water.

  3. Some people legitimately do not drink enough water, because they do not experience thirst in a such a way that is noticeable to them, either due to age or signal impairment/confusion with hunger. thus they miss the cues until it starts impacting them.

    I go by color of my urine, and I find such reminders to be useful, others may not.

    Reducing things to simple myth vs non myth is really poor IMHO. Every individual is different, and drinking enough fluids differs person to person, climate to climate, etc.

  4. “As long as the IR sensor detects your cup, it will dispense water every hour. This means that if you don’t drink enough water throughout the day, you’re going to have it all over the desk at some point. ”

    Doesn’t this also mean that if you don’t sit your cup there, you WON’T end up with water all over your desk? Sounds like a device that dissuades you from ever using it.

  5. The prescribed amount is just a guideline that will ensure you stay healthy. You don’t have to drink exactly that much to stay alive. I thought that was pretty obvious?

    1. The more interesting question is did the world put such continuous pressures on us that we stopped being aware of our own bodies needs, which can happen all to easily at least to some people now…

      If I recall correctly there were many such suggestions/sayings before selling bottled water – I’m sure I recall mention of it even in very old sources. And it definitely was required for any maritime nation – they needed to know before sending folks off on weeks/months long trips over salt water how many barrels they would need, what the safe minimum rationing was as water grew short under various conditions.

  6. Wow. Everyone seems to be hating on the idea that you should drink lots of water. I was always told that it’s a good idea to stay hydrated. Did that change when I wasn’t looking?

    1. “You should drink 8 glasses of water a day” went from a bit of unsubstantiated medical advice to being co-opted by marketers trying to worry people into buying their sports drink/water bottle/fitness program/snake oil. That inevitably results in a backlash and attempts to educate people of the reality of the situation.

      Basically, your body already has a perfectly functional mechanism for regulating your water intake, by getting thirsty. Drinking more than is needed to resolve that thirst doesn’t actually provide any health benefit (unless you have a specific medical condition that affects it, like degraded kidney function) and saying differently is at best misinformation and at worst outright deception.

    2. Drinking too much water can cause all sorts for problems, cause seizures and even kill you. Because too much water will dilute minerals in your body too much.

    1. Exactly! For programmers and engineers, this thing should automatically dispense coffee, then at a set point in the day, switch over to automatically dispensing beer. Both of which contain copious amounts of water.

      1. “this thing should automatically dispense coffee, then at a set point in the day, switch over to automatically dispensing beer.”

        I’d die of thirst, in that case.
        Coffee is nasty, bitter tasting water. I only drink it in those (rare) cases where turning it down is a social non-no (business meetings with customers and such.)

        Beer is disgusting beyond words. I never drink it.

        1. Beer disgusting beyond words????
          Are you American? – I’ve never been myself, but never heard anything but awful things about beer over there… Come visit Germany/UK/Belgium/Poland, basically anywhere in Europe that isn’t Wine mad, some really great beer and beer adjacent brews over here! You will find something more to your taste.

          Somewhat with you on Coffee, its not my choice, but again depends so much on the quality and type – Its not the bitterness that bothers me, I actually quite like that bit. But tea is just better!

          1. I really can’t believe you dislike all beer in Europe, as there is a vast variety to choose from, meeting pretty much every flavour profile, even a vast range of textures from the extra bubbly, through thick and creamy, to still very water like ones.

            Sounds like you won’t go in for darker, bitter brews, fair enough (though that is my personal favourite end of the spectrum). From what I hear American Beer is an even less enjoyable version of the common lager’s of Europe, so bland slightly sugary crud with a hint of hops…

            So seems to me like you probably want a ruby ale, rich deep and often with chocolate and/or fruity flavours. Your traditional English Ales, that are somewhat like a nice loaf of bread in flavour, or perhaps to be more like the dull American stuff but with some flavour an India Pale Ale… But there must be something in the world of beer to suit, as there really is every flavour profile imaginable in the craft beers of Europe..

          2. That sounds more like a distaste of the concept than the flavour – in many brews you won’t even taste the grain and certainly not a rotten grain at all, being properly brewed and so full of other flavours – most often lots and lots of hops… Much like Cheese is nothing like rotten milk, while being fairly described as such.

            While you are in Germany I’d seriously suggest trying a beer festival (when covid allows), ask around and try a taste of a few I think you’d find something you like, even if its not strictly speaking beer – the definitions (and your thinking) can get fuzzy where traditional elements are added/subtracted…

            But each to their own, you don’t like it that is fine by me, more of the good stuff for those that do like it. Not that I actually drink much myself, I like the taste of most of em, but unless there is a social occasion it barely gets drunk – feel like a drink, enter kitchen, spot kettle, kettle=tea (of various varieties), tea=good, so tea gets made more often that not…

          3. American beer as in American Lager, is horrible, yes, but America has a lot of great beers. Long gone are the days that only the crap (Bud, Coors, Miller) was all you could find.

      2. I am pretty sure that I have read that only water counts. In fact I have been told (by a medical professional, ie the nurse at work who did my medical tests) that coffee and beer are diuretics, and you have to drink even _more_ water to make up for that effect if you drink coffee.
        Also, I think that there has been some inflation in the numbers. Something like:
        4 cups of water (maybe 4 x US 240mL cups, ie one litre?)
        -> 4 glasses of water
        -> 4 pint glasses of water
        4 pints of water? That’s 8 cups…
        So we see recommendations of up to 8 litres of water a day.
        In _addition_ to any other drinks, because only water counts.

        Personally I can’t see how even beer, made 95% of water, can be anything other than hydrating if you are dehydrated.

        Though, I do have to admit that beer makes me thirsty, for more beer :-)

        1. I can’t find it right now, but there is a misconception about coffee being a diuretic. Beer, sure. The more you drink it the more it dehydrates you. Coffee does not do that.

  7. “What you need is an automatic water dispenser, and you need it right there on the desk.”
    You also need an automatic water dispenser refiller and an automatic water dispenser cleaner to prevent this thing from running dry or developing some nasty wildlife.

    1. If this is supposedly a “disability” affecting only %0.1 of the population, where are all these people who agree we don’t drink enough water coming from? Is it just a very very loud minority?

  8. Not entirely true, lots of situations, some temporary where you cease feeling as thirsty as you actually need to be. The best judge of if you have drunk enough is the volume and colour of your urine, as that pretty much can’t lie to you – There is no gate in the brain for that unlike hunger, thirst, even tiredness which can be turned off/ down in the brain at least to some extent.

  9. My sister has gone to the hospital with heart issues and kidney stones, multiple times, due to dehydration from, you know, just not drinking anything because she isn’t thirsty. Good on you that you don’t have this issue, but it certainly isn’t pure myth… and this hack is awesome!

  10. Lots of people asserting that: “Dehydrated non-thirsty people do not exist”. Who would have thought that hackaday readers would be so unscientific as to make such claims with no evidence.

  11. Me too. One can actually drink too much and dilute the salts enough so your neurons don’t fire. A famous legal case involving a radio station contest resulted in that happening along with a death. Your body tells you when you need to drink, it is called thirst. If you need an Arduino, well that is sad.

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