Ice Cubes That Track Alcohol Intake
An MIT grad student is turning a bad party night into a product with potential.
It was fall semester last year when 23-year-old Dhairya Dand decided to hit up a party at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Several hours later, he found himself in the hospital. He'd had an alcohol-induced blackout.
From the hospital room, Dand went back to MIT's Media Lab, where he's a researcher, and spent the next three weeks inventing Cheers - alcohol-aware ice cubes that glow and groove to ambient music. More important, the ice cubes change colors if you've had a few too many. When he presented the idea to his friends, they weren't so cool on the idea.
"They joked around when I told them I was going to make these ice cubes in reflection to what I went through at the party," said Dand. "That's normal. With every new thing there is resistance."
In an online video, Dand demonstrates how the cubes change as they respond to the amount of alcohol a person consumes. An accelerometer keeps track of how often the glass is raised to someone's lips; a timer helps estimate how intoxicated the person is. The LED inside each cube will light up in green, yellow or red. Green signals a first drink; yellow is a warning that your alcohol level is getting high. Red is a warning to stop drinking - you've probably had too much. Dand housed the electronics in waterproof cubes.
"Being an inventor, the feeling when you see your invention working for the first time is comparable to that of a mother seeing her newborn baby," said Dand. "It's elation of the highest order, you're numb enough to not feel anything, then it slowly sinks in."
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