Wouldn’t it be great if your Apple Watch could alert you when you’ve had too much whiskey to drink at your neighborhood bar or a party? That’s part of the promise of the new BACtrack Skyn, a gadget being made available soon in two styles that’s designed to measure the amount of alcohol in your blood.
Both versions of the BACtrack Skyn, according to those behind it, are wearable on your wrist – one is a standalone device tied to a smartphone app, while the other is a band for your Apple Watch which allows you to get data at a glance. Regardless of the form factor what both are designed to do is take the place of a breathalyzer in monitoring your alcohol consumption. Here’s how it works exactly:
Both BACtrack Skyn prototypes work the same way — they measure the small amounts of alcohol, or ethanol molecules, excreted through the skin; this measure is Transdermal Alcohol Content or TAC. Unlike a breathalyzer test, which provides a BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) estimate at a given point time, a TAC measurement is continuous – the estimated alcohol level is just there on one’s wrist, continuously.
BACtrack is working on a proprietary algorithm that converts measured TAC to an estimated BAC, the metric with which most people are already familiar (0.08% BAC is the legal driving limit).
It is believed that, with this information in hand (or on wrist in this case), one could learn when they’re approaching higher alcohol levels and slow down or stop their drinking. Given that more then 10,000 Americans die in alcohol-related auto accidents yearly, and that globally 3.3 million deaths – 5.9% of all deaths – are attributable to alcohol, there’s obviously a big market potential for this.
“We’re excited to introduce a breakthrough innovation in alcohol monitoring, making it simple for people to track their alcohol level — passively, accurately and near real-time,” said Keith Nothacker, President and CEO of BACtrack, in a prepared statement. “We’re thrilled to finally share these devices, which have been in development for more than two years.”
The BACtrack Skyn is set to be made available sometime this year, and no immediate price was mentioned.