New App That Measures Blood Alcohol Levels to be Released in October

A new app that measures a person’s blood alcohol level will be released in October, Reuters reports. The app works through a device that plugs into the headphone jack of a smartphone.

After a person blows into the device, an ethanol sensor embedded in the Breathometer app detects alcohol on the breath and converts it into a signal, which the app processes. It displays the person’s blood alcohol level within seconds on the device, which can fit in a pocket or on a keychain. The app, which will cost $49, will work with iPhones and Android smartphones. It works with iPhones through a Bluetooth link.

Charles Michael Yim, Chief Executive of Breathometer, told Reuters the product is designed to prevent drunk driving, by allowing a person to be aware of their blood alcohol levels and make smarter decisions.

The app also can detect a person’s GPS location, and call a cab if the person cannot drive home. It will estimate how long it will take for a person to become sober.

The Breathometer is one of a growing number of small, inexpensive personal devices that measures a person’s blood alcohol level, providing drivers with an easier way to assess their fitness to drive. Experts warn the devices do not guarantee a person can drive safely.

Critics of the devices note they aren’t necessarily accurate, in part because impairment from alcohol varies among people. Proponents note they could be useful for parents who want to check whether their teens have been drinking.

Another such device, BACtrack, is a hand-held unit that displays a graph predicting a person’s blood alcohol levels in the hours to come on an iPhone, through a Bluetooth link.