Alcohol Monitoring Watch-Like Device Wins $200,000 Government Prize

Alcohol Monitoring Watch-Like Device Wins $200,000 Government Prize

A watch-like device designed to monitor blood alcohol content has won a $200,000 government-sponsored competition – leaving many in the public asking: Since when can the government afford to dish out 200 grand?

The device, created by a company in San Francisco (probably some snarky start-up with only lowercase letters and bean bag chairs in the conference room), will be able to let people monitor how drunk they are at the bar. This is supposed to curb the number of DUIs and DWIs on the street, but will almost assuredly lead to more competitive drinking competitions.

From VentureBeat:

A San Francisco-based company has won a U.S. government-sponsored competition with an alcohol monitoring devices that can be worn on the wrist, the latest milestone in the development of wearable technologies that monitor and diagnose medical conditions.

BACtrack, a privately held medical device maker, took the $200,000 top prize in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Wearable Biosensor Challenge on Thursday with its wristband monitor, which measures blood alcohol levels via sweat on the skin.

“The blood alcohol monitoring devices used in legal and medical circles are big and bulky, like a ball and chain for the ones using it,” said Keith Nothacker, president of BACtrack. “We wanted to make something people would want to wear.”

The device will not serve as a replacement to current breathalyzer tests — as the information does not have real-time accuracy. The delay means that you will always be slightly more drunk than the number on your wristwatch.

It is unclear how much these watches will cost, but similar devices currently on the market are extremely expensive — with some jumping over $1000. This raises the question: Who will actually buy one of these?

Is this something you would buy if it was affordable? Probably not, unless it did some other cool stuff. Maybe Apple can develop this technology for the next generation of the Apple Watch. Do people wear Apple Watches still? I have no idea. But if it could save me $5000+ from getting a DUI, I’d be inclined to invest.

[via VentureBeat]

Image via Shutterstock

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