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The Brio "smart" coaster is set to launch in Wilmington this summer (Photo: New Potato Technologies)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It is more than just your typical coaster.

One Wilmington company is about to release an app that turns what looks like a drink coaster into a new way for people to socialize while staying safe.

Here’s how it works. Once it is live, you will download the app, then use Bluetooth to connect to the “smart” coaster. The overall goal is to help people mingle and, ironically, get them off their phones.

It’s an app designed by Wilmington’s New Potato Technologies to help those out on the town meet new people; all while staying safe.

“I was amazed at how many people said, ‘Oh, that happened to my friend,’ or, ‘That happened to my dad,’ with respect to drinks being tampered with. Or messed with. Or them being drugged out in public,” CEO and Founder Stuart Ross said.

While it may just look like a flashy coaster, it is much more. Through 24 small LED lights, it can alert you if your drink has been messed with.

“You place your Brio on top of your drink,” Creative Director Kellie McLiverty said. “And when you walk away, if someone or something were to disturb your drink it would send you a notification that the Brio device has been moved.”

But it does more than just keep you safe.

“It allows you to rate local venues to let people know what to look out for and allows you to get connected with people in a brand new way,” McLiverty said.

The smart coaster can let fellow app users connect on a new level. Whether it is sharing ratings, getting people’s attention or playing games, it is all to spice up nightlife.

“Getting people out of their mobile phones,” Ross said. “You know, instead of sitting there clicking all the time. And get them interacting in new and different ways.”

New Potato Technologies plans to launch Brio across Wilmington in June, then statewide and hopefully the nation by Labor Day.

“We want people to go out and have fun, but be safe about what they’re doing,” McLiverty said. “So that they’re not just leaving their drinks with a stranger.”

Before the big launch this summer, New Potato Technologies is asking for your help.

Click here to see how you can sign up to be one of the few to test it out before it is live.


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