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Martini unveils "Smart" ice cube.

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The vermouth brand Martini has launched Smart Cube, an ice-cube-shaped device that when included in drinks can communicate with bartenders. As a guest consumes his or her cocktail, for example, Smart Cube uses Bluetooth technology to anticipate when the drink is finished and signals the bar staff in real-time.

The bartender 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 detects drink levels using capacitive liquid sensors within the cube case. When a cocktail 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 custom-designed printed circuit board (PCB) and powered by a small battery.

Smart Cube communicates 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 and metrics such as number of bianco vs. rosso wines ordered.

The company developed prototype ice-cube cases using advanced 3D modeling software and produced them via 3D printing. The final product cases were injection-molded in food-safe resin and sealed with silicon.

Smart Cube also functions as a traditional ice cube thank to Aerogel, a technology created by NASA. Aerogel 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, Martini's creative excellence director.

Other potential applications of the Smart Cubes include detecting when drinks have been tampered with and measuring the alcohol content of cocktails and consumption. And by tracking the number of drinks ordered, the technology can help businesses with inventory and measuring drink popularity.--KS

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Title Annotation:DRINK CULTURE
Publication:Cheers
Date:Oct 1, 2016
Words:313
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