There's a Wearable That Monitors Your Blood Alcohol Level

By Gizmodo Australia on at

It’s like a FitBit for your sweat, detecting your blood alcohol level.

Skyn is a wristband from breathalyser company BACtrack, and it detects alcohol using a fuel cell technology not unlike that used by your friendly roadside traffic officer.

The device is worn on the wrist and offers continuous, real-time, and non-invasive monitoring of your TAC (Transdermal Alcohol Content). Alcohol is detected and measured with transdermal monitoring, which tracks the ethanol molecules escaping through the skin.

TAC samples are then converted into a history of your BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) with BACtrack’s proprietary algorithm. BACtrack Skyn uses an electrochemical sensor and connects via Bluetooth to an app on your smartphone.

Since it can take up to 45 minutes for alcohol to be transmitted through the skin its accuracy for some applications (like replacing traditional breathalysers) is unreliable. But what it can reliably be used for is continuous monitoring.

You can relay data to your doctor, it can warn you if you’ve had too much to drink.

Basically, you can passively track alcohol consumption in real-time. There’s no need to take a breath alcohol test — your estimated BAC result is on their wrist, continuously. For instance, your phone could vibrate to notify you that you’re approaching 0.04 per cent BAC and remind you to slow down your drinking.

If you’re aiming for sobriety, a nominated contact could receive a notification when your BAC has gone above 0.00 per cent.

Based in San Francisco, BACtrack won the “Wearable Alcohol Biosensor Challenge” competition held by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism with the Skyn, which came with a $200,000 prize. The competition aimed to uncover wearable technologies that can be used comfortably by everyday people, and was judged on accuracy.

“A limited quantity” of Skyn devices with be available later in the year, says BACtrack, who have opened registrations for pre-order availability notifications.

Here’s a video with more information about how it works:


Gizmodo Australia is gobbling up the news in a different timezone, so check them out if you need another Giz fix.