Next Evolution of Beverages: Drinkable Clouds?

Purple Stuff toys with ultrasonic-wave technology

Purple Stuff drinkable cloud

HOUSTON -- Funktional Beverages Inc. has designed a can that turns its Purple Stuff soda line from liquid into a gas cloud that consumers can inhale. The flavors of the all Purple sodas are sucked through a straw and fill the mouth with the flavor and the nose with aroma of the drink. The drink is available in Grape, Cola, Berry, Lemon-Lime and Green Apple.

The soda clouds can also be poured into a glass and will stay there a full minute before they disperse into the room as if from a vaporizer, according to the company.

The technology is old, but the application is new. The bottom of the can has a few AA batteries and a small ultrasonic device with a screen above it and the liquid on top of the screen. Press a button and the soda pours out its drinking clouds of flavors and no calories.

"The initial prototype was the size of a bread box because we needed powerful ultrasound generators," said Darrell Duchesneau, CEO at Funktional Beverages. "I finally got good enough to use parts from a Sonic toothbrush."

The purpose of the invention at first was the novelty of changing the physical state of a drink from liquid to gas; but it became obvious that the ability to taste the drink without consuming any calories would be a great health aid, according to the company. The hardest part was getting the volumes of aerosol clouds correct so consumers could "taste" the clouds rather than breathe them.

"The vapor Purple Stuff is a cloud of droplets of liquid suspended in the air," Duchesneau said. "We are working on getting the clouds to hold color; as a white cloud of Purple Stuff is not acceptable or different enough for a patent. We want Purple Stuff sodas to stay purple whether liquid, frozen or in a vapor form."

The device works by vibrating a metal plate at ultrasonic frequencies that atomize the soda. "Purists would say nebulize; but I talk the way that makes sense to me," Duchesneau said. The drink is not heated for evaporation, so it produces a cool mist. The ultrasonic pressure waves atomize not only the soda, but also the ingredients in the drink, including vitamins B3, B6, B12 and L-Theanine (the active ingredient in green tea).

Purple Stuff will use this technology for viral marketing and demonstration purposes but does not have the scale to make this project economically feasible in consumer drinks.

"As soon as the rich guys get it FDA approved, have human clinical trials, educate the market and have them produced in China for a dollar more than our current packaging, we will join them on the shelves," Duchesneau said.