Cheers: The Drink Speedometer Ice Cube
Screen Cap: Dhairya Dand/Flickr Cheers smart ice cubes that sense how much and how fast you're drinking.
When a 23-year-old researcher at MIT blacked out at a party and ended up in the hospital for slamming drinks down too quickly, he didn't nurse his hangover with a homebrewed cure, he nursed it with engineering. What he came up with is Cheers, an ice cube embedded with enough tech to track how much and how fast a person is drinking and then change color to let the user know they're drinking too fast.
Even better, if the user keeps drinking past the final warning it'll shoot a text to the user's friends letting them know to check in on them... and probably bring a bucket and mop.
It's a novel idea, for sure. Cheers uses an accelerometer combined with a timer to calculate roughly how much a person is drinking and how quickly. That's all tied to LEDs which cycle through various colors to provide feedback on how fast you're drinking. Green is good, yellow means you're starting to drink a little too quickly and red means you should probably stop before you cover your shoes in dinner or worse. As an added bonus the LEDs can also sense ambient noise and will pulse to music or speech.
The ABC News story on Cheers indicates that the whole "texting your friends to come get you" might still need some work. Apparently the ice cube will communicate with your phone via infrared signal. Don't bother to check your phones, most don't have that capability. Dand says you need to hook up a special adapter to your phone to allow it receive infrared. Infrared also is limited because it relies on line-of-sight, meaning you'll actually need to have your phone on the table for it to hear your hard drinking ice cube's pleas for help.
Presumably, if this turns into a more common product they'll switch to Bluetooth. Which shouldn't be hard since Dand says he's committed to open source technologies and doesn't appear to want to market it, merely make the idea available for others to develop on their own.