Gin and tonic, vodka and cranberry, and bugs and biomimetic cocktails? When you're a mechanical engineering graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, it all seems par for the course.
Under the advisement of professor John Bush, Lisa Burton, and colleague Dr. Nadia Cheng began designing small "boats" to float in cocktails, inspired by the bodies of Microvelia insects. Microvelia, or "water striders," propel themselves across water by releasing a substance that lowers the surface tension of the water behind it. Alcohol leaking from the miniature boats at controlled speeds, they reasoned, could work similarly.
Think of it as a smart party favor that drops a little extra alcohol into your drink.
The 3D-printed results of their experiments can be seen in the video above. Burton and Cheng also created a floral pipette that appears to blossom when lowered into liquid, its design is a re-imagination of flowers that close up when confronted with a flood.
Leave it to MIT to make drinking alcohol a little nerdy.