Smartphones may be able to track intoxication

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh believe smartphones could detect intoxication levels and deter drinkers from behaving dangerously.

Led by Brian Suffoletto MD, who now works at Stanford University in California, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US, found the sensors in smartphones can be used to detect high blood alcohol concentration.

The research, published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, saw participants walk 10 steps in a straight line, turn, and walk 10 steps back before drinking. Participants were given a weight-based dose of alcohol to reach a breath alcohol concentration of 0.2%.

Smartphones were then used to measure participants’ walking speed and movements. Suffoletto and his team found the devices were more than 90% accurate in detecting when participants’ blood alcohol concentration had exceeded the legal limit for driving, which is 0.08%.

Suffoletto hopes the research will mean that in the future, people could receive an alert at the first sign of impairment, encouraging them to avoid dangerous activities such as driving.

The research has been welcomed by Responsibility.org CEO Chris Swonger, who said: “The majority of Americans drink responsibly, and Responsibility.org’s experience shows that technology can have a huge positive impact on educating Americans about the effects of alcohol impairment.”

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Author: Owen Bellwood

Timothy Kelly

Tim is the Founder & Master Distiller at Felene. He developed his passion for the spirits and hospitality business while growing-up and working in his family's restaurant and liquor store business. Tim’s passion for the epicurean lifestyle has found it’s latest manifestation in the Felene Distillery. Tim is a 5-time Gold Medal Award winning Distiller. He has won a Platinum medal at the Prestigious Los Angeles Spirits Awards and his signature vodka was named Best-in-Category by the American Distilling Institute. Mr. Kelly is also a prolific author and writer and his blog is filled with ideas, discoveries, observations and recommendations to help his readers enjoy life’s simple epicurean pleasures.

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