Developed by the team at Edge Tech Labs, DrinkMate is a lipstick-sized breathalyzer that plugs directly into your smartphone. The project recently completed a successful Kickstarter campaign having exceeded its original $40,000 goal by nearly $60,000.
Unlike others of the past, the world’s smallest breathalyzer — which measures 1.8″ long x 0.62″ in diameter — works in conjunction with the Android phone’s app and displays his or her blood alcohol content (BAC) results instantly with no calibration, no mouthpiece and no battery.
How does it work? One end of the DrinkMate simply plugs into the phone’s microUSB port; a user blows into the other end; BAC results are then displayed instantly. However, keep in mind that like with any breathalyzer, users can’t eat or drink anything for 15-20 minutes prior to using the device in order to get an accurate reading.
DrinkMate has a low-cost advanced stability semiconductor-based sensor, which will get you results within 0.01%. Though the sensor’s limit is 0.20%, as the creators mention, if you’re past 0.20% then you would “probably need help standing anyway!”
Led by Shaun Masavage and Mack Redding, the team devised the portable, lightweight (only weights 0.2 oz) yet powerful breathalyzer entirely from scratch, along with an Atmel microcontroller (MCU), of course.
“DrinkMate was designed entirely from scratch. We knew that to make a new breakthrough in size reduction, we couldn’t have any bias from existing larger designs,” a company rep noted on its site.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 33,561 people died in traffic crashes in 2012 in the U.S. alone with an estimated 10,322 as a result of drunk driving, accounting for nearly one-third of all traffic deaths that year. With its latest innovation, DrinkMate hopes to heavily reduce the number of drunk driving incidents and corresponding fatalities.
When discussing the goal of the pocket-sized breathalyzer, Masavage shares, “By making DrinkMate more accessible and cheaper ($25), we’re hoping users will use it publicly, and that it will take away some of the stigma of checking on your BAC.”
Interested in a DrinkMate of your own before heading out for a night on the town? They are now available for pre-order on the team’s official website, and are expected to begin shipping in December.