Programmable Soda - Ipifini's Choice-Enabled Packaging

Ipifini, Inc. has created Choice-Enabled Packaging technology, to be presented at the PIRA conference in Stockholm, Sweden at the end of this month.

Update 14-Apr-2006: I was finally able to locate a copy of Pixel Juice, the short story collection with the reference to Spook, the soft drink from science fiction author Jeff Noon's imagination - so here's the quote:

Remember Spook?

Sure you do ... ninety-nine percent sugar; one of those things that tastes disgusting first off, but you can't help getting hooked if you persist with it. It was called Spook, I guess, because it was like clear liquid to start with, no flavour, with this neat gimmick in the cap. You could twist the cap six different ways to get six different flavours.
(Read more about Spook)


(Ipifini's Choice-Enabled Packaging - programmable soda)

IPIFINI's Programmable Liquid Containers use buttons on the container's surface that release additives (flavors, colorants, fragrances...etc) into the liquid. These additive buttons let the consumer choose different versions right at the point of consumption. A programmable cola bottle with buttons for lemon, lime, vanilla, and cherry flavors as well as a caffeine button allows for 32 possible choices of soda.

The same concept can be used with other kinds of liquids dispensed in containers. A programmable paint container with 20 pigment additive buttons allows the consumer to choose from one million paint colors.

"Providing choice at the point of consumption creates tremendous advantages for the consumers as well as the manufacturer," noted Glenn Wachler, advisor to IPIFINI and co-inventor of IPIFINI's Choice-Enabled Packaging.

Dr. Tod Woolf, founder and President of IPIFINI, notes that "virtually everyone who has seen our Programmable Liquid Container technology is fascinated and excited by its usefulness and consumer appeal."
(From the programmable soda news release.)

Science fiction writer Jeff Noon wrote about programmable sodas in his 1997 story Solace, reprinted in the collection titled Pixel Juice. Unfortunately, I was unable to find a suitable quotation from the book (anyone? [Now supplied above]). However, here is a description by the author:

I love the idea of the soft drink that can be turned into any kind of flavour you want. Why doesn't somebody make this happen?

...I'd chosen the six flavours of the drink, realised that the kid addicted to the stuff would call all six flavours mixed together a special name. I thought of taking the six initial letters of the fruits, making a new word out of them. All I could come up with was something like Solcal, the second L coming from Lime, I think. Of course, when I put the story through the Spellchecker, it comes up on this strange word, and asks me if I want to replace it with Solace. So of course I said yes! All I had to do now was find a fruit that began with the letter E, came up with elderberry, and that was it, the story made infinitely better through the use of technology!
(From Vurt Feather)

For the record, the first combination drink ever made (fictionally, anyway) consisted of strawberry, orange, lemon, apple, cola and elderberry - SOLACE.

So, you probably think that scientists and food technologists are finished catching up with the visions of science fiction writers? Wrong! Food pioneers should take a look at the John W. Campbell's synthetic food dispenser and Frederik Pohl's food factory and get cracking.

To their credit, hard-working food technologists have already caught up with Robert Heinlein's microwavable food; scientists are just about ready to mass-produce cultured meat straight from the vat for real.

Update 13-Feb-2007: Here's a more detailed picture of the bottle; also, watch the Ipifini programmable soda in action.


(Ipifini programmable soda comments and reviews)

(End update.) Thanks to the Armchair Anarchist and another anonymous reader for the tip on the story and the sf tie-in.

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