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New Device Could Improve Blood Alcohol Measuring

Breathalyzer company BACtrack won $200,000 in a contest to build a better device to measure blood alcohol levels.

Using a breathalyzer or blood test to measure the amount of alcohol in the blood system may soon be a thing of the past.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism unveiled a new device that won its Wearable Alcohol Biosensor Challenge, a contest to create a device capable of measuring blood alcohol levels in “near real-time.”

The winning device, called BACtrack Skyn, from the BACtrack company, is non-invasive and is worn on the wrist much in the same way as a fitness tracker. It uses similar technology to standard breathalyzers, but detects alcohol transdermally rather than with breath.

Furthermore, it collects data continuously and sends the data to a smartphone via Bluetooth.

The device could prove useful for those researching the effects of alcohol by avoiding having to draw blood from test subjects.

Also, for those battling alcoholism, the device would allow for the discrete collection of data that is more accurate than self-reporting.

BACtrack took home a $200,000 prize for its invention.

In total, the NIAA received eight submissions for the contest, and most of them were wearable and measured blood alcohol levels through the amount of alcohol in the wearer’s perspiration. Another submission was a temporary tattoo that changed colors depending on blood alcohol levels.

Here's a video about the device: