The next generation of wearable technology is coming to assist in the fight against problematic drinking.
Because alcohol-related illnesses claim the lives of almost 90,000 people every year in the United States, the condition is the fourth greatest avoidable cause of mortality in the nation. Accidents caused by drunk driving are responsible for around 10,000 fatalities annually. There are approximately 3.3 million deaths that can be attributed to the consumption of alcohol each year across the world.
According to the findings of certain studies, people may find that using wearables to track their alcohol use is an easy and handy option. These gadgets have the potential to assist in the reduction of risky drinking, which may result in accidents and the worsening of one’s health in heavy drinkers.
The growing public awareness of alcohol breath analyzers is one of the primary factors propelling growth in this market. Even though this technology is still in its infant stages, there are a few potential candidates developing for the monitoring of alcohol levels in real-time.
BACtrak and Skyn BACtrack
This wearable was developed by a company named BACtrack, a startup, over the course of a number of years. Recently, a business based in San Francisco was awarded first place in a competition for the development of a breathalyzer that operates in almost real-time. The National Institutes of Health is the organization that bestowed the first-place prize of $200,000. (NIH).
Even if the majority of the alcohol that is consumed is metabolized by the body, some ethanol molecules may still get out via the skin. This signal may be received by the device, and using BACtrack’s secret algorithms, it can be converted into an estimated value of the blood alcohol content (BAC).
It is possible for the wrist gadget to capture samples as often as every second and send them to a smartphone, smartwatch, or cloud server. Because it takes roughly forty-five minutes for alcohol to be passed via the skin, real-time monitoring is not really possible in this situation. This indicates that it cannot be used as a replacement for breathalyzers or blood tests that are administered by law enforcement officials. Instead, the purpose of the gadget is to identify and record a person’s recent drinking history, as well as provide assistance in keeping tabs on how much alcohol they consume.
Both a version that is sold separately and one that is incorporated with the Apple Watch band will be available for purchase. The device cannot be purchased at this time since it is not yet available. According to the website, BACtrack Skyn may be purchased for a monthly fee of $199 for research purposes only. The Food and Drug Administration in the United States has not given its clearance or given its approval. This indicates that it has been constructed, but it is awaiting permission from the relevant regulatory agencies before it can be used by the public. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that they lower the price before it goes on sale to the general public.
BACtrack also provides a variety of stand-alone devices that may be used in conjunction with a smartphone, and some of them are even compatible with the Apple Watch. These devices cannot be worn on the wrist, though.
At this point, the narrative becomes a little more convoluted. Ion is a piece of hardware that was first crowdfunded on Indiegogo. At that time, we referred to it as “PROOF.” A successful crowdfunding campaign was run by the firm a few years ago, and it was able to raise something in the neighbourhood of fifty thousand dollars. The previous year, however, it was decided to give supporters their money. But shortly after that, a new product known as Ion appeared on the website of company.
You shouldn’t anticipate a step, calorie, or distance count from this gadget, despite the fact that it looks like a fitness tracker from Fitbit or Garmin. Ion only monitors your blood alcohol content by analyzing the sweat on your skin.
This is made possible via an enzyme-based electrochemical sensor (Enzymatic Electrochemical Sensor), which measures BAC levels depending on the amount of alcohol that is detected in perspiration. The information will be conveyed back to you through the multicoloured LEDs, and the smartphone app will provide you with further details. In the event that you’ve had a few too many, you may even be given a time estimate to help you become sober. Additionally, you have the ability to establish your own alarms and will be told when you have reached the thresholds that you have specified.
In order to maintain accuracy, the sensors will need to be replaced at regular intervals. Each one attaches to the bottom of the wristband by a magnetic connection, and it may record one data point per second for a period of twelve hours of continuous usage. The very comfortable wearable device is constructed of ultra-supple silicone, offers data encryption for added safety, and can operate for up to four days on a single charge.
According to the website for the product, the very first units have already been distributed. There is no information available on the cost, but you may get in touch with the firm in order to be considered for the restricted beta release.
Tattoo that makes you sweat a lot.
Engineers working on a novel sweat-inducing device that detects alcohol levels in perspiration and delivers a readout to your smartphone through Bluetooth is being financed by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB). This technology is now in the testing phase. The tiny monitoring gadget looks like a stick-on tattoo and is five centimetres long and two centimetres wide. It is integrated with multiple flexible wireless components and measures a total of two centimetres.
One of them emits a chemical that, when it comes into contact with the skin underneath the patch, causes it to become more perspitory. Another component detects alterations in the electrical current that is passing through the produced sweat. After that, it utilizes this data in conjunction with some complex algorithms to determine the amount of alcohol present. Because of the mechanism that generates the necessary perspiration, wearing the biosensor patch does not require you to sweat in order to function properly.
When taking into account that the full procedure may be completed in less than eight minutes, the gadget provides monitoring that is practically on par with real-time. Their research was published in the peer-reviewed journal ACS Sensors.