A Cooler That Opens Via Foursquare Check-in; The Social Cooler by iStrategyLabs

June 14, 2012

2:40 pm

First it was a tweeting cake.  Next it was the social fridge.  Now,we have the social cooler (see: below).

Social Cooler v 0.3 from iStrategyLabs on Vimeo.

iStrategyLabs, a DC-based creative digital agency, has pioneered social machines – the crossroad between the physical and social worlds.  In the case of the social cooler, once a user checks into a location on Foursquare the cooler’s lock unhinges, opens, and reveals a wonderful array of delicious beers (beer sold separately).

Tech Cocktail caught up with Zach Saale, iStrategyLab’s Creative Technologist, and the owner of the builds behind the social cooler to learn more.

Tech Cocktail:  Where did the idea come from?

Zach Saale:  Social Machines was born out of the desire to do more with social and truly bridge the online and offline worlds. Nothing brings joy to someone’s face like seeing their interaction on the web or mobile create a physical result in the real world around them.

Zach Saale, Brains behind the Social Cooler

Tech Cocktail:  What future applications do you foresee for the Social Machines?

Saale:  In the future Social Machines could power everything from door locks, to popping champagne, to manipulating and creating entire event experiences. On the simplest level you can imagine a venue’s door remaining closed until 400 people have Tweeted about it. You can also imagine a situation where certain acts are only unlocked when there is the appropriate level of social interaction i.e 20,000 tweets = curtain dropping for a new act.

Tech Cocktail:  How does one sync a check-in location with a device’s lock?

Saale:  The location data is parsed using Foursquare’s Venue API that is running on a remote server. This data is then sent to the micro-controller inside of the cooler using a technology similar to Apple’s Push Notifications.

Tech Cocktail:  What’s inside of the Social Cooler at iStrategyLabs?

Saale:  The social cooler is powered by an Arduino microprocessor equipped with an ethernet shield for internet connectivity. A linear actuator takes care of lifting and lowering the lid while a servo handles the unlocking procedure.

Also, beer.

Interested in getting a social cooler for an event you’re hosting?  Contact the guys at iStrategyLabs here.

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When Zach Davis isn't getting lost in the mountains, he is hustling from Boulder, CO as Tech Cocktail's Director of Marketing. He is the author of Appalachian Trials, a book chronicling the mindset necessary for thru-hiking all 2,181 miles of the Appalachian Trail, a feat he accomplished in 2011. Zach is a green tea enthusiast, die-hard Chicago sports fan, and avid concert-goer. Follow Zach on Twitter: @zrdavis.

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