Old wine in new glass ID system

-August 14, 2017

Those of us who attend (or even throw) the kind of posh event where wine gets served in actual glass glasses are painfully aware of the problem of glass identification. “Is that your glass or mine” is a line frequently heard. In fact, a whole industry has arisen for the manufacture of glass identification modules.

Figure 1  Traditional wineglass identifiers…so very low-tech.


Is there a better (and cheaper) solution. RFID perhaps? Well…maybe. But – why not use electronic components that may very well already be present in your parts bins?

For my first iteration of this design, I have focused on resistive ID tags, using colour codes to identify users. This works best for those who can read said colour codes, but even the code-illiterate (though perhaps not the colour-blind) will find this solution usable. Values can even incorporate mnemonic features, such as 1kΩ for Karen or Ken. Admittedly, this quickly loses steam for more than a few people…especially if their names don’t contain a significant K, M, or, well, that’s about it. Standout colours are another option: Green for Gertrude. Or colour combinations that match a guest’s apparel. The possibilities are almost (not really) endless.

Figure 2  My resistive ID tag system under real-world test conditions. Yes – 10% resistors – this is the retro edition.

Larger parts (such as half-watt or one-watt resistors) are definitely preferred, as are values containing distinctive colouration.

Revision 2 of my system will incorporate a wider range of component types, hence being not completely reliant on colour differentiation. But that’s another blog.


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Michael Dunn is Editor in Chief at EDN with several decades of electronic design experience in various areas.

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