The goal of this post is to point out some of the shortcomings of modern vaporizers (in particular one dimensional, single purpose vaporizers) with the intention of bringing to light the features we are building into Duo.
1. Lack of Innovation
It’s common to walk into a headshop, dispensary or general smoke shop and see an entire shelf full of the same products, only labeled with different brands. Not surprisingly, these products are all purchased in bulk from overseas and rebranded to fit each companies needs. They rarely vaporize and often combust. Claims of both flower and concentrate capability are boasted, with a product that can hardly do one reliably.
There is no hardcore research, extensive design / engineering work, or even proper material standards inherent to those products. They are developed in secrecy, their materials loosely defined, in a factory far far away.
These types of vaporizers have become commonplace, to the point where they have become the standard. No matter where you look, multiple brands are selling the same product. This lack of problem solving and the blatant disregard for the user experience is just disrespectful to the users who live with the product on a daily basis.
We simply can’t accept this as the fate of these products.
While the vaporizer rise has awakened the public to the positive effects of abstaining from combustion, (which is a great thing) they have largely under delivered when it comes to keeping up with the needs or well being of the users. Incremental improvement is not enough. We need true disruption, which is where we come in.
2. Single Purpose
The critical component that most, if not all vaporizers fail to address is the fact that their users are typically administering more than one type of medicine on a regular basis. Different medicines require different heating methods. If they make the healthy choice of vaporizing their medicine, this means that they need to carry multiple vaporizers with them on a daily basis. This scenario is far from convenient, and is unfortunately a reality.
Why can’t one portable device, provide all of the functionality that a patient needs on any given day? Since the two main forms of medicine that a majority of patients use are flowers and concentrates, having a vaporizer that can do one of these materials, or the other, would be super beneficial. This also affords the opportunity for what we call vapor infusion.
Vapor infusion is the ability to combine two separate vapor streams into a single, potent dose. In the case of Duo, the user can combine flower and concentrate vapor streams together to create a next level entourage effect, if desired. This is achieved by engineering two separate heating chambers. One chamber solely for concentrates, using a state of the art medical grade ceramic heating element, and one chamber solely for flowers, also composed of medical grade ceramic and a conduction / convection heating system. By isolating the chambers from each other, we are able to design the air paths so that they meet at the mouthpiece, where the user inhales.
3. Low Quality
With the other shortcomings aside, we can now discuss quality.
There are many obvious issues when it comes to the quality of vaporizers around today. They are consistently produced without quality assurance, and the industry has not taken any of its own steps towards creating regulation. Due to this, production materials make it into vaporizers that really never should.
Medical grade standards are not upheld, due to the lack of regulation, resulting in a substandard product for the user. Not to mention, unhealthy and sometimes even unsafe materials make it into the final product.
This is a result of an unclose feedback loop. Think about it; most of these products are manufactured in China, far away from the highest concentration of users here in the United States. Due to this, feedback must be funneled through distribution, whose best interest is a low cost, high margin product. Whether or not the product used is meant to serve the best interest of the user, is simply not the concern of the distributor.
For the user’s feedback to even be acknowledged by the distributor, the user must first know that the product they're using isn’t safe. Many people can‘t even definitively say what their vaporizer is composed of. Not due to ignorance, but due to manufacturers not informing the user of the product’s material composition. This is a serious problem that we will be addressing in multiple ways with Duo.
Transparency of material composition, medical grade materials, supply chain transparency and multiple rounds of beta testing for user feedback, to develop a tight knit relationship with our users. These are just a few ways we will be addressing these underlying industry issues. We are the disruption which must take place, to bridge the gap between the modern vaporizer user and the manufacturer, to usher in a new paradigm of vaporizer product development. A truly closed feedback loop.
4. Unconsidered Experience
When you buy a new phone, you would expect that the company who produced it had put some serious thought into how that phone would be used, wouldn’t you?
You would just assume that company X had spoken to their phone customers and understood the pain points that they experience on a daily basis with their existing phones. You would probably also expect them to conduct heavy research on those pain points and figure out how they would address them in their new product launch. This may even involve control studies, where company X observes how their users interact with their products, while going about their daily lives.
Not only that, you would most likely expect them to try and produce the best product possible, with only the best, safest materials they could conjure, for the absolute safety and well being of the user. I mean, everyone uses these phones, so they have to be safe.. right??
Materials and safety are particularly important, but you would also want your phone to look sleek and modern as well. Like it fits into your daily life, and within the ecosystem of all your other products. It should speak to you and your personality, but also not be obtrusive to others.. or be a ripoff of another phone. No one likes that.
More importantly, even if your phone looks and feels really great, you would expect it to just work really well. It should be fast, smart and able to keep up with your pace. If it doesn’t fit into your lifestyle, and is as easy to use as possible, it’s hard to imagine really enjoying it, or raving to others about it.
Why shouldn't you have the same expectations for your vaporizer?
In today's vaporizer market, many of these critical expectations are overlooked. Without all of them, a product can fall flat. Expectations lower universally and everyone buys what is put out, because that’s just the best option there is. They stop asking the critical questions that need to be asked, and should be asked. We invite those questions, and are fighting ahead to address all of the ones we have encountered so far.
5. False Claims
The last big issue with the current landscape of vaporizers is the consistent `false claims. It’s hard to point at any one company as the culprit, because it is a widespread epidemic.
The specific false claim that causes the most negative disruption is the claim of both flower & concentrate use, in a single device. There are countless products which boast this, with their claims falling flat quickly. There are a small few which have been able to achieve this function, but still have fallen short of the best possible experience for the user.
I'm particularly referring to the products which try to accommodate both flowers and concentrates, within a single chamber, with a single heating element. This is a foolish proposition, and almost always results in a broken or clogged vaporizer.
I have personally been sold two separate vaporizers (of the single chamber type), claimed to be dual use by the gregarious head shop attendant who shrouded my judgement in his magic. To my dismay, not only did the product combust my flower, it was unable to vaporize anything, particularly concentrate, after using flower in the chamber. Cleaning was rendered impossible.
I spent a decent amount of money on that product, and it broke after using it once. That was enough to start searching for alternatives. This brought me to the cartridge system vaporizers, which boasted the ability to swap cartridges to use different types of materials. i.e. flowers and concentrates. This seemed interesting at first, but quickly became just as troublesome. The cartridges were hot, and tough to handle. They were finicky to reattach and would often leak or spill, oh and not to mention they combusted. Overall, cartridges didn't solve the problem for me, and still don’t.
While some recent vaporizers have tried to address this issue in different ways, they are ultimately just the same old systems, reorganized in other ways. They aren't addressing the fundamental needs of the daily user, or rethinking the underlying tech which is the vehicle to addressing those needs. Without reimagining the system from the ground up, there is no way to ensure the best quality experience for the user.
This is our goal.