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Heineken's "smart" beer bottles create a synchronized light show


April 11, 2013

Clinking two of the bottles together for a toast causes the LEDs to light up simultaneously

Clinking two of the bottles together for a toast causes the LEDs to light up simultaneously

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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.

Source: Heineken

About the Author
Jonathan Fincher Jonathan grew up in Norway, China, and Trinidad before graduating film school and becoming an online writer covering green technology, history and design, as well as contributing to video game news sites like Filefront and 1Up. He currently resides in Texas, where his passions include video games, comics, and boring people who don't want to talk about either of those things. All articles by Jonathan Fincher

Since it is attached to the bottom of the bottle, perhaps it could be sold separately and used on any bottle of ones favorite beverage? I think that would be neat.


I like it. May raise the cost of beer by 20-50 cents.

Some vendors may absorb the cost to better advertise their drink.

Having all the appliances come to life with the beat of the music is a bit like being in Tune town from 'Who framed Roger rabit'. :)


Heineken should concentrate on making better and competitive beer rather than toys in their bottles. Heineken is more expensive, comes in smaller bottles, and is in my opinion bitter beer. Flashing LED's do nothing that will make it appeal to me at least.


I predict a sharp rise in the number of people slamming their bottles down on to the top of their mate's one, thus creating an illuminated beer fountain.


I'm with one of the other posters, why not just make a better beer. I'm paying way more than the cost of a Heineken for the beer I drink and it doesn't need a fancy bottle to get me to like it, it's just great beer.

John Vonesh

Is this designed for kids or grownups, make something useful like a self filling beer, once it reaches half full it fills itself up , this will make the light show automatic.

Jay Finke

I happen to like Heineken and I don't see how flashing lights enhances the drinking experience unless your using the bottle as a flashlight for a walk on the beach.


As if packaging wasn't wasteful enough.

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