The little things that can make a difference to our life.

We all know how important water is, but let’s face it, water can be boring, dull, and monotonous. But what choice do we have? The alternatives on our supermarket shelves invariably contain untold amounts of sugar, additives, and who knows what other rubbish. So you, the consumer, must make a decision: health, or taste?

Flavour just by scent

The air up® drinking system is a refillable bottle that turns plain tap water into flavoured water through scent alone. It’s a simple idea, but one that redefines drinking completely. Radically different, visionary, and with no hidden small print. Additive-free, sugar-free, and rubbish-free.

Our innovative drinking system adds taste to water without using any
additives. By transporting scent through air and by using the biological effect
of retronasal olfaction we create an impression of taste that is actually scent.
air up combines the desire of consumers for carefree enjoyment with all the
health benefits of pure water. The bottle‘s interchangeable scent pods add
naturally flavored air to water or whatever you are drinking, which is perceived
as taste by our brain. This way, we enable our customers to not consume
unnecessary and unhealthy ingredients, but only clear water.


Lena and Tim created the base of air up in 2016 during their joint product
design studies at the University of Design in Schwäbisch Gmünd (Germany).
In their bachelor thesis on the topic “Neuroscience meets Design”, they
analyzed one of the greatest social problems of our time: unhealthy nutrition,
which leads for example to obesity, diabetes and coronary heart diseases.
As a solution, they designed the first prototype of the air up bottle. Based on
modern neuroscientific knowledge, the two developed an innovative and
completely new technique that counteracts this problem with the help of
retronasal smelling.

To explain briefly: Our brain distinguishes between orthonasal (perceived via
nose) and retronasal (perceived via mouth) scent. While orthonasally perceived
smell is also interpreted as such by our brain, retronasally perceived scent is
interpreted as a part of our taste impression and our bra

It quickly became clear that their invention not only helps people to meet their daily liquid needs with pleasure and health but is also sustainable. While a scent pod is sufficient to aromatize at least five liters of water, a consumer would have to buy
five to ten PET bottles for the same amount of any other drink.
This saving, in turn, leads to great logistical potential. As it reduces the weight
and volume of goods on aircrafts, container ships, and trucks from the producer
to the supermarkets and, from there to our homes.


With their passion for the idea and the help of some more experienced
supporters (including the EU funding “Climate KIC” for particularly
sustainable startups and the “EXIST” start-up grant at the TU Munich), the
five young entrepreneurs were able to inspire three well-known investors
for their startup in 2018. With their financial support, series production of their air up starter set was initiated in 2019.

But how does the air up drinking system work? The idea is
actually very simple: You fill still or sparkling water into the
air up bottle, select your favorite taste and put the scent
pod on the head part. Sucking on the silicone attachment
creates a suction that not only transports the water but
also air from the outside through the fragrance pod into
the mouth. This is where retronasal olfaction comes into
play: in the throat, the flavored air rises from the water and
is perceived as taste at the olfactory center. One could say
you tricked your brain and saved your body from proven
harmful sweeteners, stabilizers or acid regulators.
Incidentally, the fragrance-air function can