Mi Mug

Mi Mug
Capital Inventions Silver Award


What is "Mi Mug"?

Mi Mug is a frivolous use of user customisable QR Codes. The mug’s owner "grabs" the mug and associates it with their free Google account. They may then program the QR-Code to go to any web page or display a simple message and image. The message or destination can be changed as often as the owner wants. (A QR code reader and an internet connection is needed to read the code).

The mug can be passed to a new owner by reactivating the "grab code", there are no limits to the number of times the mug can change ownership.

How does it work?

Each mug has a unique code and ID. Once this has been matched to a valid Google Account the owner can program the landing page associated with the unique code. The working software has been mounted on the Google App Engine infrastructure so we can produce small numbers of fully functional "Mi Mugs" to special order.

What is up for sale?

The Mi Mug grew out of a creative session where we were looking for ways to demonstrate the more adventurous possibilities of QR-Codes. In our view too many people just think of a code linking to a static webpage. The idea of putting a programmable code on a mug provoked the statement: "I would covet a mug like that at work!"

To actually create a mug we needed:

  • A supplier happy to produce mugs from sets of artwork, rather than multiple mugs from a single artwork;
  • A programmatic method of producing artwork sets;
  • A programmatic method of producing the QR-Code images with the correct cylindrical distortion so they would scan when printed on the mug;
  • A method to authenticate the mug's owner. This also needed to allow an owner to have multiple mugs and to pass the ownership on to someone else;
  • Application software that was both freely available (runs on any device) and free (as in free beer) so the end user needed to pay no fees. Any service costs must be covered by the retail price;
  • A hosting service that would run for the life of the mug so the mug would be worth coveting;
  • A simple user interface to program the QR-Code on the mug as often as the end user wanted.

The demonstration workflow and software we have created meets the requirements above and is without proprietary constraints. As the Mi Mug is not core to our business we are seeking to sell the workflow under mutually agreeable terms.

The demonstrator uses Google to manage accounts, however, the software may easily be migrated to any other WSGI compliant hosting solution.

We can supply nice looking fully functional mugs at £15 + P&P. Please contact us for details.


We have listed "Mi Mug" on the Capital Inventions Website. The entry there also includes a list of frequently asked questions about the product.