It's not uncommon to head to the local watering hole with friends and not realize just how much you've had to drink until it's too late. To help keep yourself in check, Dhairya Dand has created a set of LED-lit "ice cubes" that track how much you've had to drink and flash red when it's time to stop.
A student of MIT Media Lab, Dand found inspiration for the clever device after a night of drinking took a turn for the worse, ending with him waking up in a hospital with no recollection of the events that landed him there. Understanding that others could just as easily find themselves in a similar situation without warning, Dand got to work on his cubes, which monitor a person's alcohol intake and change color from green to red as a visual cue to stop. If the flashing red lights aren't enough, the cubes are also capable of sending a text message to a designated friend's phone, letting them know it's probably time to step in.
There's no denying the system could use a bit of fine tuning, but as of right now each cube is comprised of a colored LED, an accelerometer, an IR receiver and a battery, all wrapped up in a waterproof jelly that keeps the electronic bits from affecting the taste (and contents) of the drink. The motion sensors count each sip in relation to a timer to estimate the level of intoxication.
It's a great idea, but estimating the amount of alcohol a person has consumed based solely on how many sips they've taken is a bit questionable. Different factors like body weight, how strong the drink is mixed and what proof the beer or liquor is can change dramatically from one situation to the next. Adding a way to set a certain drink limit depending on what it is you're consuming wouldn't be a bad idea.
Either way, Dand's cubes could definitely be useful tools for party-goers and bar owners alike. Check out the video below for all the details on the drinkin' cubes.