We've all had nights when we drank too much, and mornings when we woke up wishing someone had stopped us after our second drink, rather than our fifth. Dhairya Dand, an inventive MIT Media Labs researcher, has taken that wish and made it a reality by creating a prototype for ice cubes that monitor how much you drink.
The inspiration for Cheers, the "alcohol-aware glowing ice-cubes" came after Dand attended an MIT party that ended badly. "11:30 pm: I remember having three drinks. 7 hours later: I wake up at the hospital. I had an alcohol-induced blackout," the video about the prototype describes. In comes his genius invention: The ice cubes, which are actually waterproof jelly made to look like cubes, are stuffed with LEDs and a device that measures movement. With each sip of your drink, the cubes keep track of your intake, and go from green to orange to red based on how much you imbibe. Bonus: The cubes are sensitive to vibration, so they flash with the music, "making you look extra cool in the club," and making it awfully hard for you to forget the cubes are there. The cherry on top? They can be programmed to send a text message to the party animal's close friends if he or she has gone over the limit.
Definitely a cool idea, but it's not without potential drawbacks: What if you're drinking really dark beer out of a non-see-through cup? What if you accidentally swallow the cube? What if you're 5'2 and drinking Scotch? Certainly you'd want to stop before your third Laphroaig on the rocks. "The smart cubes are more of a considerate, novelty reminder than an exhaustive solution," says Nic Halverson at Discovery News. But even so, you've gotta hand it to Dand for using his hangover as inspiration. "What did you accomplish after your last drunken blackout?" Halverson asks. I don't remember, but it wasn't nearly as productive.