Michelle Obama Praises Creepy Talking Water Fountain

Fountain to woman: ‘Are you a sipper or a gulper?’

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First Lady Michelle Obama is now highlighting talking water fountains to encourage people to drink more water.

Obama’s anti-obesity group Let’s Move praised the new invention by the Drink Up campaign on Thursday. Drink Up “hired an expert” to create the water fountain, which starts talking to a person when they drink from it.

“This summer, as part of its #SpreadTheWater campaign, [Partnership for a Healthier America] PHA unveiled a talking Drink Up Fountain encouraging people to drink more water more often,” Let’s Move said. “The fountain dispenses entertaining greetings and compliments intended to entice the drinker to continue sipping. When a drinker’s lips touch the water, the fountain ‘talks,’ completing a circuit and activating the voice.”

“Greetings, water drinker,” a deep male voice says to a child in Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York City, in a video created by the campaign.

The fountain then talks to a blonde woman. “Can I ask you a personal question? Are you a sipper or a gulper?” the male voice says. “Anyway, keep drinking up.”

“Water helps keep your teeth nice and clean, no wonder I was so mesmerized by your smile,” the fountain says to a man.

Other messages include “kudos on the water,” and “water can boost your mood.” At the end of the video the fountain says he can “recommend several excellent public restrooms.”

Michelle Obama joined the Drink Up campaign, which experts say is based on faulty science, earlier this year to encourage Americans to drink one more glass of water per day. The campaign has told kids to be more like their dog, and argued that water made Albert Einstein smart and Audrey Hepburn stylish.

The latest effort is similar to an idea proposed by the Department of Agriculture (USDA), where an agency panel came up with a talking shopping cart that would nudge Americans into eating healthier. The cart would “provide consumers with a message of support or encouragement” when they selected enough healthy items at the grocery store.

Let’s Move says the talking water fountain is a “splash of magic,” that could lead to people drinking more water.

“Regardless of where we live, what we do, or how busy we are, water helps to get us through life’s moments—whether a marathon meeting, a softball tournament, or a day at the park,” the campaign said. “That’s why PHA is challenging everyone to spread the word about water and how it powers you during those moments.”

“Get ready, America,” the video says. “Soon we’ll all be drinking more water, one chatty fountain at a time.”

Molmol Kuo and Zach Lieberman of Yes Yes No, a New York-based “interactive collective,” designed the fountain.

“It’s surprising and it’s creating a moment of magic about something that really is magical, should be magical,” Lieberman said.

Kuo and Lieberman also built the “Google Talking Shoe,” which encourages wearers to stay active. For example, if a person stops to take a rest on a bench the shoe will say, “This is super boring.” When the person gets up, the shoe replies, “That’s more like it.”

The shoe “nudges them, motivates them, gets them in the game,” the company explains in a video about the product.

Obama is unlikely to endorse Yes Yes No’s other project, a candy-dispensing robot.

Elizabeth Harrington   Email | Full Bio | RSS
Elizabeth Harrington is a staff writer for the Washington Free Beacon. Elizabeth graduated from Temple University in 2010. Prior to joining the Free Beacon, she worked as a staff writer for CNSNews.com. Her email address is elizabeth@freebeacon. Her Twitter handle is @LizWFB.