Email
Password
Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

Wearable patch allows you to monitor your alcohol intake

By Tim Sandle     Oct 18, 2016 in Technology
An innovation in wearable health technology allows an individual’s blood alcohol levels to be measured, with the collected results transmitted to a smartphone.
The device has been developed by researchers from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, based in California. The development involved engineers, scientists specializing in nanotechnology, and computer experts. The patch is small and it is designed to be fixed to the skin.
The science behind the wearable patch, which is formally called a “iontophoretic-biosensing temporary tattoo system”, is that it detects alcohol levels in perspiration. The patch, with resembles a tattoo, releases a chemical that stimulates perspiration on the skin. A second chemical measures changes in the electrical current flowing through the generated sweat and this allows alcohol levels to be recorded.
The measurements are rapid. Previous attempts to assess levels of alcohol in the blood via the assessment of the chemicals contained in human sweat have taken at least two hours to produce a result. The new device measures and transmits a result about blood-alcohol levels in just under eight minutes. In tests, the recorded results are comparable with those measured by a breathalyzer.
The aim of the device is to inform the person wearing it as to the level of alcohol they’ve consumed. This could be used by someone to determine if they are able to drive or for those who wish to limit how much alcohol they consume. The patch can also be used by those on health programs who wish to assess how much alcohol they are consuming over a period of time.
Discussing the device with Controlled Environments magazine, the lead researcher, Dr. Seila Selimovic, said: “It resembles a temporary tattoo, but is actually a biosensor patch that is embedded with several flexible wireless components.” The connectivity allows the data to be sent to a device like a smartphone.
The device is non-invasive, small and it can easily be hidden from other people. The designers have described it as ‘practical and personal.’
Development of the device was supported by the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the UCSD Center of Wearable Sensors, and the Thai Development and Promotion of Science and Technology Talents. The research findings are published in the journal ACS Sensors. The paper is titled “Noninvasive Alcohol Monitoring Using a Wearable Tattoo-Based Iontophoretic-Biosensing System.”
More about wearable tech, Alcohol, Drink driving
More news from