MIT student invents digital ice cubes that detect drunkenness

Channels Television  
Updated January 10, 2013

Last fall, graduate student Dhairya Dand drank too much at a campus party and woke up seven hours later in the emergency room after blacking out.

He could have of taken the incident as a lesson to slow down on the hard liquor and not drink on an empty stomach – like most students.

But, the 23-year-old is studying at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – one of the nation’s great centers of engineering and ingenuity. Instead he used it as motivation to invent high-tech ice cubes to measure how drunk he is.

The cubes are made from gelatin and implanted with infrared transmitters, accelerometers and LED lights that change color from green to yellow to red, depending on how quickly he’s imbibing booze and how much he’s had.

The accelerometers measure the number of sips he taken – giving him an estimate of his blood alcohol content that is about 80percent accurate, he told MailOnline.

If he continues to drink despite the red-light warnings in his cup, the ice cubes will even send text messages to his friends warning them that he should be taken home.

A video Mr Dand created to describe his experience and his quirky invention had garnered thousands of views since its release last week.

The student described his experience at the college party as: ‘I “remember” having three drinks, I actually later found out that I had many more. But since I blacked out I do not have any memory of what happened later that night. It seems that I mixed hard drinks and had them on an empty stomach.’

The idea came to him, he said, after he was ordered to write a 20 page research paper about the dangers of binge drinking after he got into trouble with the university administration for his drunken night.

‘Instead I had this sudden flash of an idea to make something that would keep alcohol consumption in check,’ he told MailOnline.

The concept began as a one-off invention, but Mr Dand says he now plans to develop his electronic ice cubes further and try to find them with a Kickstarter crowd funding grant.

Mr Dand studies at the MIT Media Labs, where he is currently working on projects including smart shoes that will help wearers find their way in unfamiliar cities and a shape-changing display that is able to render objects in three dimensions.

Cheers – alcohol-aware glowing ice-cubes that beat to ambient music from Dhairya Dand on Vimeo.

Culled from