Wi-Fi Enabled Bottle Opener Can Prevent Drunk Driving. Um… Er… Yeah.

Ever wish you could connect your bottle opener to the Internet to inform your friends about your latest beer? Neither did we. But thanks to Kickstarter, this non-problem now has a solution, and its creators would like you to believe that it can prevent drunk driving as well.

A group of Swiss entrepreneurs has invented Bottle Opener X,  a bottle opener which tracks every beer you open and shares the tender moment with social media. When you crack a brew, a select group of fortunate friends will see a post like, “Cheers! I just began drinking in the field next to the old asbestos mine east of Jackson’s Gap.”

In truth, the part of the device that opens the bottle looks pretty elegant. We’re told it’s made of stainless steel and “solid wood,” which is the variety preferred by people who use wood. The video gives the impression that the merchandise is handmade at someone’s dining room table, a production method that’s guaranteed to get old before the last of the project’s 367 backers (at time of writing) get their sample.

There’s an App for THAT?

What makes this different from the wealth of bottle opening options out there is that this is a smart bottle opener, with a wi-fi chip and, of course, an app that lets you announce to your entourage that you’re ingesting beer – wait, we mean “share your experience with your friends.”

The traditional way to share your experience is to invite people over for a drink, not boast to them that you’re doing it somewhere else. But breaking from tradition is the whole idea of this gadget – it represents “a new way of thinking what a bottle opener can do.”

Make Room for Hypocrisy

can smart bottle opener prevent drunk drivingIn these days of heightened awareness of the dangers of alcohol, it’s always iffy to promote a product that appears to encourage drinking. Bottle Opener X’s smartphone app pays tribute to public health and safety by reminding users if they’ve drunk x number of beers in y hours. Of course, the app also urges the user not to drink and drive.

But they didn’t really think the health and safety thing through. The app also doles out points for every bottle opened, and allows drinkers to compete worldwide for status on the company’s global leaderboard.  In other words, you can drink your way to the top.

Drinking competitions are a bad idea in a frat house or dorm room. When that competition goes global… let’s just say that this will not end well.

Which is not to say that technology has no role in the effort to prevent drunk driving. Ignition interlocks are used to keep DUI offenders’ vehicles from starting if they have been drinking. Those devices are reducing drunk driving collisions and deaths all over the country. None are made of solid wood, though.

Remember Orson Welles as Harry Lime in The Third Man?

“In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love – they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The smart bottle opener.”

Okay, that’s not the quote. But you get the idea. We don’t need a new way of thinking about bottle openers.  Or a way to bring drinking competitions into the 21st Century. Switzerland can do better.