New smart tattoo measures your blood alcohol levels


Good news, party animals. Scientists at the University of California have created a way for you to monitor your blood alcohol levels without a breathalyser.

The new technology makes use of a phone, and a biosensor patch that beams back information about your blood alcohol levels on the fly.

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“It resembles a temporary tattoo but is actually a biosensor patch that is embedded with several flexible wireless components,” explains Director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, Seila Selimovic in a press release.

A component within the tattoo reads the levels of sweat around it, and records the change as time progresses. This change in current is a trigger for the tattoo to begin beaming information to the user’s phone via Bluetooth.

The monitor has the advantage of being non-invasive, meaning it doesn’t need to be inserted within the body and can also be unseen depending on where it is placed on the body.

This tattoo can measure, and beam back information about your blood alcohol levels to your smartphone

“Measuring alcohol in sweat has been attempted before, but those technologies took 2-3 hours to measure alcohol levels,” explains professor Patrick Mercier, co-senior author from UCSD Jacob’s School of Engineering.

“Our patch sends alcohol levels to your smartphone in just 8 minutes, making real-time alcohol monitoring possible, practical, and personal,” he adds.

Developments like the tattoo makes complete sense for South Africa, especially during the holiday season.

In January this year, South African minister of transport, Dipuo Peters touched on the rise in road fatalities during the festive season. Between 1 December 2015 and 11 January 2016, 1755 fatalities were recorded on South African roads.

While this tattoo might sound like a one-off technology, there are possible future applications, in other wearables and smartwatches alike.

 Featured image: PunkToad via Flickr

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