Because it's Friday....
A beer mat that knows when a glass is nearly empty and automatically
asks for a refill has been created by thirsty researchers in Germany.
Andreas Butz at the University of Munich and Michael Schmitz from
Saarland University came up with the idea while out drinking with their
The disc-shaped mat can be attached to a normal beer mat so that it
still soaks up spilt liquid and displays an advertisement. But it also
contains a pressure sensor and radio transmitter to alert bar staff of
the need for a refill.
The device weighs 110 grams and costs $100 to make, but Butz and
Schmitz think the weight and cost would shrink if the mat were to be
They say the mat could also be used for interactive TV events, as it
contains an accelerometer capable of sensing when it is being waved in
"I've been discussing this with a friend of mine who is an expert pub
goer," Butz told New Scientist. "He mentioned that the pay-TV companies
who broadcast soccer games are desperately looking for ways to make TV
an interactive experience. Betting on actual sports events with the mat
could add such interactivity."
The researchers believe the smart mat could even be used in pub games:
"One important direction which needs further investigation is the large
body of drinking games which has developed in certain cultures and how
they can be supported using our beer mat."
(I wonder if MS are thinking up an embedded OS version for this one!!)