Vicina Smart Cups

A beautiful pair of porcelain cups to share a coffee/tea with someone you love, but that's far away from you

The Vicina cups work in pairs and allows users to share a cup of tea or coffee with someone they love, but that is far way, in a symbolic, but extremely real way. Interconnected, when one of the cups receives a hot liquid, both of them gently light up, and when both cups are full at the same time, that same light becomes warmer, reaching a rosy hue, signaling this moment of sharing.

Since the walls of the cups are double, its exterior does not heat up. This design lets the users hold it with both hands, allowing the sensors to pick up their pulse and transmit it to the other cup, which starts to pulse in this same rhythm, giving life and essence to the object.

These cups are meant to be given as presents for someone close that lives far away and when no one is using, they look like this:

When one of the users decides to have a tea or a coffee, both cups gently light up and display symbols calling the other user to share a cup of tea or coffee. Both the light and the symbols, pulse in an organic way, according to the other user heart beats, creating a haptic sensation of life inside the cups.

Finally, when both users are having a hot drink at the same time, this light becomes warmer signalizing this moment of share. The symbols also change into one that represents this unique moment of proximity and harmony.

User Scenario A

Two users: couples, friends or family members:
When the one on the right fills her cup with a hot coffee, both cups light up displaying the symbols, no matter where they are. The light, the symbols and their pulsation calls the attention of the other user in a surprising way, inviting him to take a moment of pause together.

When he decides to make a pause together and also drink a coffee, both cups start to pulse with a warmer light, such as this rosy hue. At this point, both users are sharing the moment and thinking about each other without the need of smart phones or any other more complex form of interaction.

User Scenario B

Multiplayer: a group of friends or family members:
While four of them are drinking a tea together, a fifth one is sharing this moment from far away, participating in this reunion in a symbolic way.

In this multiplayer use of the product, we designed different forms of visualizations:

While the first on the top offers the possibility of seeing how many users are having a tea together, the second one it offers a more symbolic visualization. Using the metaphor of the full moon, a Chinese reference, to symbolize this moment of fullness and share.

Design approach

Regarding the design approach, the use porcelain with aluminum reflects the marriage between tradition and technology.

The porcelain, besides being resistant and translucent, gives an elegant look to the object, revealing its innovative side in a surprising way.


The cups can be sold on regular magazines, directly with the customer, or they can be fully customizable and sold online.

Multiple combinations allow unique artifacts:

Cedar and white gold   |   Cherry wood and aluminum   |   Walnut wood and cooper

This project was developed exclusively for the TechINK Awards 2017 and won the Bronze Award among almost 1,000 projects from all over the globe.

Photo of the Award Ceremony   |   July 2017, Tsinghua University, Beijing