A “Wearable” That Measures Alcohol Intake

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Screencap of hand and arm testing wearable device

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.

Next: read about smart ideas from teens that could reduce drug-related deaths.

Find Help Near You

Use the SAMHSA Treatment Locator to find substance use or other mental health services in your area. If you are in an emergency situation, this toll-free, 24-hour hotline can help you get through this difficult time: call 1-800-273-TALK, or visit the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. We also have step by step guides on what to do to help yourself, a friend or a family member.

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