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THON Dancers Team Up with Penn State Startup to Combat Dehydration

Ten THON dancers will not only have the support of their Moralers but also an extra helping hand from Penn State startup H2O-Pal, which produces a Bluetooth-enabled water bottle linked to an iOS app that prevents dehydration by monitoring users’ water intake levels.

H2O-Pal was created last year by Matej Marjanovich, a Penn State sophomore, and his brother, Igor, after their mother was rushed to the hospital due to dehydration after a hectic day. Now, Matej and fellow Penn Stater Matt Reading, H2O-Pal’s manufacturing manager, are aiming to ensure proper hydration in the Penn State community, starting with THON.

“One month ago, Matej and me began to talk about how THON would be the ultimate stress test for H2O-Pal since it is the ultimate test of endurance not only for the dancers but also for everyone in attendance,” Reading said. “We hope this truly makes a difference in the THON experience for these 10 dancers.”

As we mentioned earlier in our tips for THON dancers yesterday, hydration can be an easy thing to forget during the excitement of THON Weekend. With H20-Pal, however, ten dancers — Lauren Christiansen, Clara Etter, Michael Jones, Joel Shulman, Kevin Cass, Nate Spilman, Carly Cubit, Kate Porter, Victoria Uebele, and Alec Myers — will be monitored throughout the event to ensure they get the water they need.

“Their Moralers, who have iPhones, will be able to see how much water they’ll be drinking throughout this event, and H2O-Pal will send up-to-date info to their moraler’s iPhones instructing you how much to drink and exactly when to drink throughout THON,” Marjanovich said. “It’s great to gather all this data, and it’s great for the Moralers to know their dancers are staying hydrated.”

H2O-Pal’s iOS app, which interfaces with a Bluetooth-enabled water bottle that tracks water intake.

Lauren Christiansen, who will be dancing in THON using H2O-Pal, is enthusiastic about the impact that the technology can make this THON weekend.

“It’s an amazing idea to keep track of how much water you’re drinking — hardly anyone can keep track of five liters, and when I first heard about H2O-Pal, I thought, ‘I can’t believe I didn’t think of this myself,’” Christiansen said. “Something like this is essential, especially at THON when you’re on your feet for 46 hours. It’s important to stay hydrated. I can’t wait to show this off to my friends and help them [the H2O-pal team] make it the best version possible.”

But the story doesn’t just end with THON dancers and Penn State students. Marjonovich and Reading believe that their technology can successfully be implemented in a variety of situations. It could even save lives.

“A few days ago a cancer patient told me that she is undergoing chemotherapy and is having issues drinking enough fluids a day, and she asked when she could get H2O-pal,” Marjanovich said. “We’re trying as hard as we can and we’re going to make sure that she gets one of the first samples of our product.”

H2O-pal hasn’t fully commercialed yet — it is only available via pre-order, at the moment — but Marjonovich estimates that the product will ready for retail by May. In the meantime, the startup’s team is incredibly excited to be a part of not only the THON experience, but also the process of helping the Penn State community stay healthy and hydrated.

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