One night a college kid gets drunk (on three drinks), ends up in the hospital and is forced by University administration to write a paper on the dangers of alcohol consumption. Sounds like a set up for the kind of joke told by people who don’t get invited to keg parties, right?
Alas, MIT student, Dhairya Dand’s alcohol-induced blackout inspired him, not to write the paper, but to invent LED ice cubes intended to detect a drinker’s alcohol consumption. Based on the green-yellow-red light system, the three flashing edible gelatin cubes use an ATtiny microcontroller, a coin cell battery and an IR receiver that supposedly keeps track of how drunk you get better than the number of times you drunk-dial your mother at 3 a.m.
Dand’s video shows the efficacy of his light cubes, which turn red after the third drink (interestingly the same number of drinks which supposedly sent him to the hospital). But Dand claims his cubes can do more than flash red on his third Mai Tai. “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 tells The Huffington Post.
But what happens if someone orders another scotch on the flashing red rocks? Thanks to a specific phone app, the cubes will text a warning to the intoxicated person’s emergency contact.
While the motion detectors record changes in the surrounding liquid and movement with each drink, Dand’s drunk-detection cubes fail to take several factors into account: body mass, alcohol tolerance and reliability of one’s emergency contact. Plus, who wants to be the douche hammer walking around the bar with an epileptic disco party in their glass? Also, as a woman I don’t want my blinking red gin and tonic advertising my susceptibility to bad pickup lines.
Still, you’ve got to give Dand credit for dodging a research paper in lieu of inventing novelty ice cubes.