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 Long-distance lovers can still drink together

This story is from the category Sensors
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Date posted: 13/03/2006

Could glowing, Wi-Fi wine glasses let people in long-distance relationships feel more in touch with their other half? Researchers in Boston at MIT's Media Lab believe so.

Jackie Lee and Hyemin Chung, experts in human-computer interaction, say that communal drinking is an important social interaction that helps bind friendships and relationships, but this is of course denied to people separated by geography. To give such lovebirds a chance to recreate some of the intimacy of sharing a drink, Lee and Chung have incorporated a variety of coloured LEDs, liquid sensors and wireless (GPRS or Wi-Fi) links into a pair of glass tumblers.

When you and your partner both raise the high-tech glasses they will glow warmly, no matter how far apart you are. The idea is to give the feeling of a shared drinking experience.

When either person picks up a glass, red LEDs on their partner's glass glow gently. And when either puts the glass to their lips, sensors make white LEDs on the rim of the other glass glow brightly, so you can tell when your other half takes a sip. Following tests in separate labs, Lee says the wireless glasses really do "help people feel as if they are sharing a drinking experience together".

The technology could also be used to check that hospital patients or elderly people are drinking enough water, Lee says. The glasses, dubbed lover's cups, will be unveiled at the CHI 2006 conference on computer-human interaction in Montreal in April.

See the full Story via external site: www.newscientist.com



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