3 New Technologies for Drinking (We're Obsessed)

Mind-controlled beer taps? Computer-chip wines? Waterproof smartphones? Sign us up

The coolest new drinking technologies.

The 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) came to a close earlier this month. Held in Vegas, the show is alcohol-soaked from start to finish, but in addition to attendees new need for liver transplants the gadget extravaganza brought word of a few new booze-related technologies.

RFID Wine Bottles (and Corks)

Co-inventor of the Internet Vint Cerf has a digital monitoring system for his extensive wine cellar, which allows him to monitor and adjust the temperature and humidity when he is away. The program may get more complex in the future, he tells Ars Technica, with a plan to install RFID chips on each bottle of wine. Simply placing the chip on the outside of the bottle, however, would mean someone could sneak in, drink the wine, and replace the bottle without being detected. So, the idea has morphed into a plan to put the chips inside each cork.

This opens up even more possibilities, since a cork sensor could ostensibly be more than a traffic cop — it could perform analysis on the wine itself, measuring esters and other chemistry. You would no longer have to guess when that expensive vintage is optimized for drinking, and could avoid drinking corked wine entirely. Sounds like a product that would be useful to both restaurants and wine collectors. In fact, the research winery at the University of California, Davis already uses RFID sensors to control fermenting of its wines.

Mind-Controlled Beer Taps

More a gimmick than an actual product, InteraXon has been showing off a thought-controlled beer tap on the CES show floor. When people focus hard enough, the tap handle is pulled and brew flows from the suds. The tech behind the display is a headset called Muse, which uses EEG sensors to measure the brain’s beta waves and note your level of concentration. Other demos of the headset included controlling volume and tone of music playing and moving images of the sun and moon across an onscreen display, according to TheStar.com. We doubt this will end up in actual bars or restaurants (imagine the havoc if customers could will themselves another beer — never get tired of trying to flag down the bartender again!), but it might be a fun hack for a home bar.

Waterproof Smartphone

There’s no case or outer protection that can actually save your phone if you happen to drop it in a full glass of booze — unless you happen to be super lucky — but what if the phone was waterproof on the inside? That’s what the makers of HzO promise, and they showed off their product by dunking it into a beer bath. HzO WaterBlock is a nano-coating for electronic components, so it will be up to manufacturers to implement the technology. Come on phone-makers, clumsy drinkers and beach-goers everywhere are waiting.

— Danya Henninger, The Drink Nation

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