Stay Safe with This Ultra Portable Breathalyzer That Works with Your Phone

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I wonder about the accuracy of the readings. I was shopping for portable BAC readers a few years ago and found that most consumer models only claimed accuracy to ±0.01. That may seem good but consider that the difference between 0.07 and 0.08 could be a weekend in jail and a few grand in costs. Worse, I even found a few that only claimed ±0.1 - practically speaking it might read an 0.15 BAC as 0.05, and off on the road you go.

Since the listing doesn’t mention accuracy, I’m inclined to assume it’s either bad or unknown.

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I went on the website downloaded all the info available, and you are right. It’s only with the Professional model that they mention accuracy:

It does not seem all that more expensive for that model.

I’d be curious to know if it’s the hardware that’s better or if they have dumbed own the software for the consumer model.


When I went shopping for them a while back, decent ones were about £60 (~$100) and need to be calibrated every couple of years. They also need to warm their sensors and have decent length disposable (and hygienic) mouthpieces. There was a lot of crap below that price that Autocar rubbished in tests against police kit. This seems to be gamification of BAC, which may be entertaining, but isn’t a safety device.

I wonder if anyone at BB actually approves these store items, or if this is basically a paid advert for someone who has licenced the brand…

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Have to say that if you’re in the situation where one of these would possibly be useful (if not very accurate) then it’d probably have been a better idea to avoid drinking in the first place. Plus you save yourself $43 from not buying this junk.


Let’s face it; it’s a portable drinking game.


I have similar sentiments, I can’t believe that people need a device that tells them that they have drunk too much to drive - if you have had more than one in an evening, then you shouldn’t be driving.


The body metabolizes alcohol at .015 BAC/hr. An average 150 lb male would fully metabolize a drink in slightly under 2 hours, and a 150 lb female in just over 2 hours. Over the course of an evening, a 200 lb man could put down 3 drinks over 4 hours and still be just fine to drive afterwards.

This is a really bad idea - if you think you need this, you have no business driving - if in doubt, don’t.

I’m not that wild that BoingBoing chooses to promote such a questionable product - I think that it’s an error of judgement myself, but hey, we all make mistakes.


Nonsense. It’s about penalties. Driving with a BAC of .08 is probably no more dangerous than staring at an iphone while barreling down the highway. The former comes with a $10-15 thousand dollar fine/court/insurance penalties, the latter is a $500 slap on the wrist, by comparison. Not to mention cops ferociously cruise to bust anyone on the road past midnight because DUI fines are a back-door revenue source.


Any idea when they come up with a light-molecule spectrometer than in addition to detecting volatile organic compounds would also detect and identify ammonia (for kidney trouble), acetone (for diabetic issues, etc.), and other markers of organ functions not going well?

That’d be worth the cost.

Very much this.

Right… So the simple solution is - if you’re driving, simply don’t drink. Rather than trust that some shitty Chinese gadget will measure as accurately as a cop’s roadside device will.

And even better, PCMag reviewed this bad boy and gave it one star. Looks like even as a novelty/drinking game thing, it’s pretty damn useless.


Driving with a BAC of .08 is probably no more dangerous than staring at an iphone while barreling down the highway

Dunno bout that. I remember an episode of Mythbusters where Jamie gets increasingly intoxicated while being breath-tested every so often and he was astonished at how drunk he felt by the time it reached 0.08. You may be underestimating how bad that level of drunk is.

I’d probably only ever buy the pro models (if I’m buying something like this accuracy is the only variable other than cost). But considering how many times there have been conversations among friends/family where everyone is wondering where they fall on the BAC scale I’m surprised one hasn’t been drunkenly bought. But I’m totally a geek who loves gadgets and data and would love to know how the number correlates to how I feel.

Can we just check the logic here? Having had more than one drink over the evening is ok because it is just as bad as doing something else that is dangerous (in that it increases risk of accidents)?

I still subscribe to the idea that we need people to take responsibility while driving because we could do without the deaths and injuries not how much of a fine they are going to get - but then I guess I just have nonsense values :wink:


Information is a bad thing?

That’s just it. I’ve played with these things. I’m not a small dude and I can drink beer all afternoon and barely hit 0.08. And I’m in zero condition to drive at that point. I can’t imagine what .15 feels like – or .2 or something.

A friend of mine got a similar device a while back – as a party trick / gadget not to decide if it was safe to drive. However, I was shocked by how drunk I was at 0.08%. I know everyone handles alcohol a bit differently, but for anyone who responds like me, it isn’t like you are going to accidentally have more booze than you realize but still feel in control, then get busted for drunk driving. The legal limit is not “buzzed with slowed reaction times”, but “having trouble walking”.

More money for booze