There is now an alcohol monitoring wristband
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Photo credit: BACtrack

Photo credit: BACtrack

Forget those expensive and clumsy breathalyzers and meet Skyn, the world’s first alcohol monitoring wristband

Monitoring wristbands have been around for several years, mainly being used as step and calorie counters as well as sleep monitors. But now, BACtrack is introducing a new monitoring wristband that can regularly and non-invasively measure your BAC (blood alcohol content).

Monitoring blood alcohol levels 24/7

BACtrack is a veteran and well-known manufacturer of breathalyzers. Now, the San Francisco-based company is introducing Skyn, the first monitoring wristband that can measure your alcohol level through your skin. The wristband regularly tracks the user’s BAC and sends all the data to the user’s smartphone using BLE (Bluetooth low energy). The user can also decide how often he wants the wristband to test for BAC levels.

The wristband can help fight alcoholism and aid researchers, hospital patients or soldiers, among other uses. If the wristband is taken off, the monitoring stops and the wristband can send an alert using its integrated proximity sensor.

Contrary to the various breathalyzers that are expensive, bulky, and unable to monitor continuously — and instead, measure a wearer’s BAC at a specific point in time — the Skyn wristband is lightweight, portable, and expected to be more affordable.

However, since the wristband relies on tracking and the ethanol molecules are emitted through the skin, a process that takes up to 45 minutes, it does not present a real-time measurement but rather a somewhat delayed result.

The new monitoring wristband won first place at the American National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s Wearable Biosensor Challenge, garnering BACtrack $200,000. A notable honorable mention was a color changing tattoo design called BioInk, which changes color according to the wearer’s BAC levels.

Dr. George Koob, Director of NIH’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse on Alcoholism explained that Skyn would be able to “help doctors accurately measure a patient’s drinking history, and not just depend on the most recent tests.” He added that “this can help a lot with the different treatments.”

Video: This is Skyn, the world’s first wearable alcohol monitor

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