Buzzkiller LED Ice Cubes Can Tell You’re Drinking Too Much

By Nick Venable | Published


You know what the best way is to tell someone that they have a drinking problem? Anonymous email from the other side of the planet. Nobody wants to hear that kind of shit, especially from a friend, and especially if they’re in the middle of tying one off on a Manic Monday night. But what if it was something inside your drink itself that was telling you to slow down? You gonna call the drink’s mother a bitch like that? I think not.

After an alcohol-induced blackout put him in the hospital, MIT Media Lab designer Dhairya Dand came up with Cheers, LED “ice cubes” that are color-coordinated with the amount of drinks you’re having. Inside of the cube, molded from “tasty” edible gelatin, a microcontroller counts the number of times you sip your drink, changing colors as you move from one drink to the next, from green to yellow to red. I wonder where he got those colors from. After three drinks, a transmitter signals the user’s phone to send a pre-written text message to a friend, entitling them with the triple-D: Designated Driver Duties. It took Dant merely three weeks after his incident to have a working model, which he tested successfully at another MIT party.

Beyond the public service, the best part about this thing is that it blinks along with the surrounding noise. So you’ve got entertainment, as well as alcohol and music. Even if it’s just your little cousin who sucks at beatboxing.

Here’s what I’m thinking: “MIT has parties all the time? Wow. Oh, well if three drinks is too much for those guys, then maybe it’s not my kind of party scene. But wait, what if what they’re putting in those three drinks is enough to make me blackout? Maybe this is my kind of party scene. Also, stop saying things like ‘party scene.'”

It’s a great idea as a bar’s way of cutting people off after they’ve had too much, though that would be expensive. At just three drinks, the brain should be able to comprehend when stopping is a good idea, unless you’re drinking dirty martinis out of Route 44 cups. And the text to the friend thing is a great gesture, but there’s no way to gauge that success rate. I would probably be hanging out with whoever it would text anyway. I realize my opinions here speak more to my lifestyle than yours perhaps.