First there was the HAPIfork, a smart fork that tells users when they may be overeating. Now, alcohol drinkers have their own resource that tracks when they may have had one too many.
After an alcohol-induced blackout put him in the hospital, MIT Media Lab researcher Dhairya Dand created LED ice cubes that detect alcohol and flash various colors based on the total number of drinks, Dand explains in his Vimeo clip.
Each edible gelatin ice cube holds a coin cell battery, an ATtiny microcontroller and an IR transceiver, as website Hack A Day notes. The ice cubes track the number of sips and total time spent drinking, in order to keep a running tally of total cocktails, and predict when the user may be intoxicated.
Dand devised the concept after he got into some trouble with MIT’s administration following his night of drinking. Though Dand said it was a misunderstanding, he was asked to write a research paper on alcohol consumption during an administrative hearing. Instead, he conceived the idea to create a tool that could actually help monitor intoxication.
“In a sudden flash I had an idea of making some device that would be cool to have in a party as well as keep your alcohol intake in check,” Dand told the Huffington Post. “As I went back to think about what would be the most fun way to engage the user, I thought of ice cubes.”
The glowing cubes, which flash in sync with ambient music and sounds, come in three colors — green, orange and red — to depict the varying stages of inebriation. In order to achieve the results Dand illustrates in the video, the drinker must have all three ice cubes present in the beverage.
Basing the appropriate number of drinks on his own experience, Dand demonstrates how the LED ice cubes change from green to orange to red using three drinks in the video. However, he explained that the color levels are unique to each situation depending on the total time spent drinking and the alcoholic strength of the drink.
“If you don’t hurry, it would take say five drinks to hit the red color. If you are having a very mild drink, it might hit red on the sixth or seventh,” Dand said.
As a precaution, if the drinker continues beyond the red level, the LED ice cubes are also capable of electronically transmitting a text message warning to a friend through the IR channel. A specific phone app allows users to designate emergency contacts.
Although Dand did not plan to market the ice cubes when he first devised the concept, he said he’s received such a positive response from his video that he’s considering a Kickstarter campaign.