New technology solves a long-standing problem

For the dedicated beer fan, the prospect of sitting nursing an empty glass, ignored by tardy bar staff is the stuff of nightmares. But now a new invention from Mitsubishi Electric aims to put an end to this sorry state of affairs once and for all. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present the Intelligent Beerglass. This is a genuine invention from Mitsubishi’s research labs – God bless them, one and all!

Since restaurants often make much of their profits on drinks, it is critical for servers to offer refills in a timely fashion. We propose wireless liquid level sensing glassware to aid in this task. Specially instrumented glassware detects fluid levels via a high-resolution capacitance measurement. A coil embedded in the table inductively couples power to the glasses, and provides a path for data exchange. Our prototype glass uses a standard microprocessor and a small number of passive components, making it extremely inexpensive.

Background & Objective:  It is a common problem you are in a bar or restaurant with your drink almost gone and you are desperately hoping that one of the staff will notice and offer you a refill. Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don. If they don’t, you leave a little less happy with your experience and are less likely to return, the waiter or waitress gets a lower tip, and the restaurant has lost the chance to sell you a drink. Meanwhile, thirsty customers may stand waiting at the door for lack of a table. Everyone loses. It is such a little thing; yet doing it right or wrong can easily make the difference between economic success or failure. By using a combination of RFID and capacitance sensing technologies, we are able to achieve these properties.

Now it has often been noted that your humble scribe is no slouch wiGlassware2hen it comes to innovation. And during the course of writing this blog, a couple of modifications to the proposed system came to mind.

I wonder if I should contact the patent office now?


MERL – iGlassware