Two German boffins have developed a pressure-sensing beer mat which automatically demands a refill when you're nearing the dregs of your pint, New Scientist reports.
Andreas Butz at the University of Munich and Michael Schmitz from Saarland University had the bright idea while sinking a few liveners with their students. The mat can be used in conjunction with a traditional mat, but boasts a pressure sensor and a radio transmitter which shouts up a round when required.
Of course, this alone is not enough to make the device a viable commercial proposition. After all, shouting "oi, serving wench, bring us a stein of your finest foaming ale" is within the capability of all but the most sozzled Bierkeller regular.
The makers are, therefore, investigating the possibility of using an interactive version of the mat to bet on TV sports events and, more critically, how it might play a part in drinking games. One of the inventors noted: "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."
Hmmm. To be honest, the only use we can imagine for this mat in Blighty is a tremble-sensoring version with attack capabilities and voice chip which detects when someone has spilt your pint and piles into them shouting drunken abuse before nipping off to grab a doner kebab. ®