Drugs & Health Blog

Tech-Wise: A “Wearable” That Measures Alcohol Intake

The NIDA Blog Team

“Tech-wise” is a periodic series in which we describe how new technologies are helping to prevent or treat substance use problems.

These days, you can track and measure things related to your health with a wearable device—from the number of steps you take to how well you sleep. So why not a device to measure how much alcohol you drink?

Alcohol and sweat

That’s what our sister institute, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, is hoping to find out. It held a contest—the Wearable Alcohol Biosensor Challenge–to find wearable alcohol tracking devices with the best potential.

The first-place winner is a wristband monitor designed to track the amount of alcohol in your blood (also known as your blood alcohol content, or BAC). The device measures your BAC through the sweat on your skin. It’s called the BACtrack Skyn.

A person could set the BACtrack Skyn to notify them when they’re drinking too fast, or when their BAC reaches a certain level. That could help them know when it’s time to switch to a non-alcoholic drink, or when it’s safe—or unsafe—to drive.

Keeping track

The BACtrack Skyn hasn’t been submitted to the Food and Drug Administration for approval, so you can’t get one yet. We’ll be following this technology and let you know when there’s been enough research to decide how well it works.

Stay tuned—there’ll be more “tech tools” that aim to help people avoid or treat a substance use disorder, and we’ll cover some of the most interesting tools here on the blog.

Comments posted to the Drugs & Health Blog are from the general public and may contain inaccurate information. They do not represent the views of NIDA or any other federal government entity.

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