Call it an ingenious idea: Smartphone Breathalyzers are getting ready to hit the market, offering a sobering heads-up to anyone worried about driving home drunk.
A pair of inventors recently unveiled their smartphone Breathalyzer, which they promise will allow you to do what those liquor commercials always squawk about: to "drink responsibly." And they're not the only ones hoping to cash in on the concept.
With a way to make personal alcohol breath tests trendy and more available to consumers, smartphone Breathalyzers may just be the next must-have accessory.
How Do Smartphone Breathalyzers Work?
The fledgling company Alcohoot is the brainchild of two former Israeli Army officers who noticed that drunken driving affected soldiers as well as college students, reports The Huffington Post.
The device works by plugging into the headphone jack on the top of most smartphones and tablets. After a user blows into the device, it relays her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) data to the Alcohoot app on her smartphone.
The Alcohoot app will offer the option to track your BAC data throughout the night, and even connect with a car service like Uber to find an inebriated user a ride home, reports Mashable. You can see a prototype in action in this YouTube clip:
Though it may be a first for smartphones, Alcohoot isn't the first personal Breathalyzer on the market. They range from keychain-sized devices to larger handheld devices that can run into the hundreds of dollars.
While many of these devices claim to be accurate and approved by the Department of Transportation, Alcohoot will use the same highly accurate fuel cell sensor technology as most police departments, as the inventor explains in this YouTube clip.
This smartphone Breathalyzer also claims to be "alcohol specific," and claims it won't give a false reading based on hairspray, cigarette smoke, or even sucking on pennies.
Is It On the Market?
Although it hasn't hit the bar scene yet, Alcohoot is taking $75 pre-orders for their smartphone Breathalyzer, which is set to ship in October.
Alcohoot won't be alone in the mobile-phone Breathalyzer market, however, as at least one other startup, Breathometer, is marketing a similar Breathalyzer for your mobile device that is set to launch this fall for $49 per device.
Most states will suspend a driver's license for refusing a Breathalyzer when it's administered by a law-enforcement officer. But when it's attached to your friend's smartphone, it might be a bit less intimidating.
- This iPhone Breathalyzer Wants To Call You A Cab (TechCrunch)
- Don't Be Fooled: Breathalyzers Malfunction More Than We Think (FindLaw's KnowledgeBase)
- Can a Breathalyzer be Fooled? (FindLaw's Los Angeles DUI Blog)
- Breathalyzer Calibration (FindLaw)