Smartphone breathalyzer


If you think you need one of these, you’re already way past the point where a smart phone is going to help, unless maybe you use it to call your sponsor.


Why ‘help’ when it would be so much more IPO-friendly if it has Foursquare integration and ‘social’ and can be used to gameify the quantified self buzzwords, etc?

Given the (tepid) quality of low cost gas sensors (doubly so for ones that haven’t been kept properly calibrated and replaced if necessary) and the complexity of determining where what you’ve drunk is on its journey from your gut to your bloodstream to your breath from a single or small number of samples, cheapie breathalyzers just aren’t wildly useful, even aside from the ‘If you have to ask, the answer is no.’ factor.

If you give up on quantifying sobriety, and focus on ‘social’ monetization of drinker’s brand preferences, though, you’ll soon be swimming in imaginary internet money!

Last time someone marketed one of these, it failed miserably at its stated goal because people started competing to see who could blow the highest number.


What a bunch of buzzkills! Where I live (and drive), the legal limit for driving is 0.08%. So it’s quite possible to have a BAC of 0.09% and be legal to drive a little while later. Depending on the timing, you might even be able to have another drink. And if you don’t intend to operate a vehicle, your state of intoxication is quite moderate. So “pace yourself” (when backed up with hard numbers) is a reasonable summary.

I can’t share technogeek’s outrage at people who try to set a high score on a breathalyzer, either. Drunk driving and alcoholism are serious problems. But that doesn’t mean nobody can ever get drunk.

Jeez, happy new year, everybody!


The problem is that cheapo breathalyzers like this are inaccurate, so using one to try and edge yourself to the legal limit is a recipe for a very unpleasant evening indeed.


It may be discrete, but what I want to know is, is it discreet?


“Seeing if you’re still OK to drive” is only its stated goal because saying “see who can compete to get the highest score!” would make them responsible for the cases of alcohol poisoning that will inevitably accompany the sale of breathalysers to private individuals.

I’d say it succeeds very well at its intended use though…

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My wife and I invested in a fuel cell sensor breathalyzer when she got her nursing license and one DUI will likely result in a revocation. We enjoy drinking and would always plan sleep overs or cab shares and such, so our main concern was drinking with dinner… is a couple of beers over the limit or not? Only one way to be sure.

So the the thing shows up, and of course becomes an instant party hit. One thing to note is that the display would max out at .04 so that would somewhat limit the competitiveness that would arise. (.04 is surprisingly easy to hit with the groups of folks we party with. The true “champions” were the guys still blowing a .04 the following morning)

I guess I missed where this is “infringing”… on what? And why the all the hate? I can’t stand to be around visibly drunk people. It has caused me to cut back how much I hang out with certain friends as they seem to be headed towards becoming “functioning alcoholics” in their 40’s. Did I drink like them in my 20’s and 30s? Occasionally, and I realized what it was doing to me and how it could hurt me or others in the long run. So I grew up and chose to drink responsibly. As much as I hate drunks, I can’t see hating on something that a person could use to help them learn to drink responsibly. If it causes someone to wait longer to get behind the wheel, drink some water, and get their actual level down to where they are not legally impaired, that’s great. It could save their license and their (or even more likely someone else’s) life. Just because THIS product might suck, does not mean that all portable BAC monitors are useless because it somehow equates to alcoholism.

‘Look at this’
‘What is it?’
‘A device that tells me I’m not drunk enough’.

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The folks that are blasted and behind the wheel know they shouldn’t be doing it.
The folks that use these as an excuse to drink more were already consuming at these levels.

Who this really helps are the people wanting to both enjoy alcohol and be responsible. Knowing exactly what is the limit, and also knowing when to stay at the party an extra hour drinking water is nice to know. The alternative is just guessing and saying things like “I think I’m ok”.

The standard rule-of-thumb guess – one drink per hour, on the principle that higher-proof drinks are generally consumed in smaller glasses – works pretty well, from everything I’ve heard.

I can’t vouch for it; I’m either the designated driver or not driving. More often the former; alcohol doesn’t do much for me.

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I read elsewhere that our legal limit of 0.05% is 50% degradation in response times. Honestly I wouldn’t drive if my brakes were 50% degraded.

My brother’s wife insists that she saw my brother drink to the point where he should have been way over the limit, then they got caught for a breath check and he blew zero. Maybe its his metabolism though personally alcohol does nothing for me and I can’t stand the stuff. I would rather drink something with caffeine.

People with judgement impaired by alcohol arent good at determining if they should drive. They are actually terrible at it… and often think they are fine when they are looking for keys they are holding in their hands. Its amazing what ive seen in my years of bartending.

So theres a need… beyond this being a party favor, or the risk that people might see it as a game, with a high score.

It would be great if this was cheap and worked well.

Nonsense. People do enjoy wine at restaurants, and then drive home, after dining/waiting a couple of hours. in fact, the driver’s ed classes I remember taking in high school had various rules of thumb you could use. This has the potential to be substantially more accurate, and since one can still be impaired by alcohol that you can’t feel, potentially safer.

but, since I haven’t yet surrendered to the "higher power,"perhaps I’m missing something.

one word. lawsuit.

a device that tells me I’m too drunk to drive a car, or perhaps too drunk to know when I’ve had enough.

My 22 oz bottle of 7.5 % stout is not the same as your 12 oz can of 3.2% pißWasser.