That high-tech ice cube in your cocktail is looking out for you.
The vermouth brand Martini has launched a new ice-cube shaped device, Smart Cube, that can be added to drinks in addition to traditional ice. As guests consume their drink, Smart Cube uses Bluetooth technology to anticipate when the drink is finished and communicates with bar staff in real-time. Staff can then prepare drinks in advance so that guests do not have to wait.
Smart Cube also keeps track of the number of drinks people have consumed, to encourage responsible drinking.
Smart Cube was created with advanced design software and the final product cases were injection-molded in food-safe resin. As well as providing its real-time ordering technology, it also functions as a traditional ice-cube, thanks to Aerogel, a technology created by NASA, which keeps the temperature of the cube cool, and allows it to stay buoyant.
“There’s huge potential for innovation within the beverage industry and this is just the beginning,” says Laila Mignoni, Creative Excellence Director, Martini.
Prototype ice-cube cases were developed using advanced 3D modelling software and then produced using 3D printing. The final product cases were injection-molded in food-safe resin and sealed with silicon. The Smart Cube has sides of 25-mm in length and communication between the cube and the bar is via Bluetooth to an iPad Pro equipped with a bespoke web application.
The iPad Pro web app stores data on the cloud and features analytics to track drink activity; for example, number of Bianco vs Rosso ordered.
Detecting drink levels is achieved using capacitive liquid sensors within the cube case. When a drink reaches a low level, the cube’s transmission beacon switches off momentarily and the LEDs in the ice cube pulse in a unique color sequence.
The LED and beacon are controlled from a bespoke designed printed circuit board (PCB) and powered by a small battery.
Other potential applications of the Smart Cubes include: Detect when drinks have been tampered with; Detect alcohol content of drink; Measure consumption; Track number of drinks ordered, to help businesses with stock take and measuring drink popularity; Group cubes to help locate friends for whom guests ordered the round of drinks.