CES 2017: BACtrack knows if you’ve had a few too many

BACtrack has unveiled the world’s first wearable alcohol monitor for personal use. The San Francisco outfit, which is known for making smartphone integrated portable breathalysers, announced at CES 2017 a wrist strap as well as a strap for Apple Watches that gives you information on your blood alcohol level.

Earlier this year, BACtrack nabbed the top prize in a competition to design a new type of near real-time breathalyser that “could improve upon existing alcohol biosensor technology used in the criminal justice system.” The $200,000 first place prize was awarded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). BACtrack’s entry beat eight other prototypes.

The device works by measuring blood alcohol levels through the skin using fuel cell technology. While most consumed alcohol is processed within the body, some ethanol molecules escape through the skin. The wearable is able to read this ethanol signal and convert it into an estimated Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) reading.

As it takes about 45 minutes for alcohol to be transmitted through the skin, the wearable does not offer real-time tracking. Nevertheless, it can identify trends in your drinking and offers up the potential for a number of other interesting uses. You could, for example, set it up to remind you to slow down your drinking, or even to notify a member of your family when your alcohol levels rise above a certain level.

“We’re excited to introduce a breakthrough innovation in alcohol monitoring, making it simple for people to track their alcohol level — passively, accurately and near real-time,” said Keith Nothacker, President and CEO of BACtrack.

“We’re thrilled to finally share these devices which have been in development for more than two years,”

The product is expected to launch sometime in the summer for around $99.

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