Heineken's "smart" beer bottles create a synchronized light show
April 11, 2013
You'd think beer would be entertaining enough on its own, but that hasn't stopped people from trying to add modern technology to the mix in some colorful ways. In the past, we've seen an arcade machine that rewards winners with a free beverage, coolers that light up with multi-colored LEDs, and a machine that makes frozen beer foam, to name just a few. Now Heineken is introducing a new twist on the ordinary beer bottle with the Heineken Ignite, which uses LEDs and wireless sensors to light up when two bottles are clinked together and flashes in time with music.
Heineken developed the Ignite as part of an experiment to enhance the social interaction of beer drinking using modern technology. The project brought together designers from several industries to collaborate over a 10-week period, taking the device all the way from concept to reality.
Each "smart bottle" lights up thanks to a 3D-printed housing that attaches to the bottom and conceals the electronic components. The attachments each contain 8 led lights, an 8-bit microprocessor, an accelerometer, a gyroscope, a battery, and a wireless network transceiver with antenna – all fitted to a custom circuit board just a little bigger than a €2 coin. The LEDs are arranged facing upwards to illuminate the entire bottle when they're lit, an effect that's slightly more enhanced when the bottles are full.
All these components allow the bottles to respond differently to a variety of actions. Clinking two of them together for a toast causes them both to light up simultaneously, while taking a drink causes the LEDs to flicker rapidly. Setting one of them down for a moment will also trigger a sleep mode, where it slowly dims until it's picked up again. The lights can even be controlled remotely to have them match up with a musical beat, turning a party into a synchronized light show.
Heineken debuted the Ignite as part of its "Lounge of the Future" concept for Milan Design Week. Only 200 of the light-up bottle housings were built for the event, and at this time, there's been no mention of more widespread distribution.
Check out the video below to see how Heineken Ignite bottles appear in their natural environment ... a chaotic nightclub.