For the past few years, Matrix has been mostly known for its body heat-powered smartwatches. But at CES 2020, the company is taking a different tack with its thermoelectric tech. Its latest gadget, Juno, is meant to help you cool super hot drinks super fast.
I got to see a demo of Juno and true to Matrix’s word, it does in fact work as advertised. Upon arriving, the folks at Matrix offered me a can of peach-flavoured seltzer. The whole thing was set up like a magic trick. Yes, I verified the can was room temperature and hadn’t been refrigerated previously. Then, the can was placed into a Juno prototype, buttons were pressed, and we made awkward small talk. About a minute or two later, I was presented with an ice-cold can, minus the ice.
The same trick worked on a freshly brewed cup of hot coffee. Again, I touched the coffee cup to verify it was hot. You could still see the steam rising from it. Then, the coffee was poured into a thermos, slotted into the Juno, and I waited for a smidge longer. By the time the Juno was done, I had a very cold cup of joe.
The Juno works its cooling magic is via a thermoelectric cooling engine and Matrix Industries’ proprietary mixing mechanism in a liquid bath. (So yes, the drink containers do come out slightly wet.) So basically, it’s a type of Peltier cooler—the liquid whirrs around the drink to transfer away unwanted heat from your beverage. Matrix says the Juno can chill a 350mL can of beer from 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees Celsius) to 39 degrees (3 degrees Celsius) in just two minutes. Likewise, it can chill a bottle of wine in about 5 minutes.
While nifty, I did have a burning question for Matrix’s CTO Douglas Tham. Why would I use this $US300 ($432) appliance when a couple of ice cubes would basically do the same thing? To his credit, Tham had a quick answer. Ice melts, thereby diluting your drink.
Fair enough, but slightly watery drinks seem like a real woo woo, first-world problem. To that, Tham countered that melting ice and dilution is a real problem for mixologists looking to craft the perfect drink. But there’s also some energy-saving benefits to something like Juno. Since it doesn’t rely on chemicals or refrigerants, it’s more eco-friendly for event venues like stadiums with limited refrigerator space. Its portability and relatively small size could also make it useful for small businesses, like a salon, when offering cold drinks to customers.
It feels like Matrix is possibly onto something there with the commercial applications, though I’m still not sold on the idea the average person would want this in their homes. That said, it is a handsome looking device. The LED lighting is simple—it’s red when you turn it on, and will progressively turn blue as it chills your drink. Maybe a little gimmicky, but I found myself liking it. And for a ‘smart’ appliance, I was pleased to hear that there was no companion app. (There are too many apps!!!) All the customisable drink settings you can do right on the device itself.
Matrix says you can start preordering the Juno today for a slightly reduced price of $US200 ($288), and that it expects to ship sometime in Q3 this year.