Drinking a few beers with friends is a great way to unwind after a long day. Now, new technology from Heineken aims to make having a few cold ones even more exciting. The German beer maker recently introduced the Heineken Ignite, a “smart” beer bottle that uses LEDs to give even a small get-together the atmosphere of a night club.
Heineken bills the Ignite as its “first interactive bottle”: when clinked against another bottle during a toast, the Ignite’s wireless sensors activate, causing the LEDs to flash in time with music.
The magic of the Ignite bottle is made possible by 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,” explains Gizmag.
Almost as interesting as the internal technology is the method Heineken used to take Ignite from concept to reality. “A team of carefully selected specialists from within and beyond the organization, were put on a mission to create a pioneering Heineken experience for people to interact with during a nightclub occasion,” states the company on a Tumblr dedicated to the LED bottle.
“Heineken recognized it needed to adopt the principles of lean start-ups, and applied the ‘Spark’ process developed by Tribal DDB. It provides a complete production path which includes research, ideation, development, consumer validation and prototyping within the period of just 10 weeks.”
Besides a thumping bass, the bottle can also actively respond to the output of specific audio and data cues. For example, it can detect various motion types such as cheering, drinking and sitting idle on the bar top. The motions trigger certain light effects lighting up the complete bottle, enhanced by the swirls of beer, carbon dioxide and oxygen. Next to that the bottle lights can be remotely activated, so that each bottle becomes an active light source controlled by specially developed VJ software, allowing to synchronize all bottles to the music beat.
The 3D printed housing (designed and developed by C10) is built up of two parts, allowing to re-use the unit on multiple bottles of beer.
A limited number of 200 bottles are launched for the first time at the Milan Design Fair, Salone Internazionale del Mobile 2013, earlier this month. There are no plans to make them commercially available at this time.