Forget breathalyzers, a new smart stick on tattoo can monitor exactly how much alcohol a person is drinking and even let the police know if they are over the limit.
Developed by a team of engineers and scientists at the University of California, the transdermal alcohol monitor is designed to make it easier for an individual’s blood alcohol level to be monitored, tracked and even reported to appropriate parties (like police or doctors) in real time.
The Mail Online reports:
The flexible patch can detect a person’s blood-alcohol level from their sweat.
It can even message doctors and even police if the wearer drinks too much.
The monitor, reported in the journal ACS Sensors, works quickly and can send results wirelessly to a smartphone or other device.
Recent research has demonstrated that sweat can be a more reliable real-time indicator of blood alcohol content.
At least two transdermal sensors have been developed to measure alcohol levels in sweat, but users have to wait up to 2 hours for results.
Joseph Wang, Patrick Mercier and colleagues at the University of California, San Diego, set out to make a more practical version.
With temporary-tattoo paper, the researchers developed a patch that tests blood alcohol content non-invasively in three rapid steps.
It induces sweat by delivering a small amount of the drug pilocarpine across the skin.
An enzymatic reaction leads to the electrochemical detection of the alcohol content.
And a flexible electronic circuit board transmits the data via a Bluetooth connection to a mobile device or laptop.
The steps take less than 8 minutes from start to finish.
In addition to connecting to vehicles’ ignition interlock systems, the sensor could be a simple tool for bartenders, friends or law enforcement to use, the researchers say.