The personal alcohol detector.

by Paz

The personal alcohol meter.

We’re not sure about this device, and would appreciate your comments. It’s a personal alcohol detector that will tell you if you are over the legal alcohol limit for driving.

No one should drink and drive though – so is this a cool gadget or not?

The device features a MEMS (Micro ElectroMechanical System) detector that is sensitive to a targeted chemical; in this case the by-products that linger on your breath after you have consumed alcohol. A typical MEMS sensor features minute pin-head receptors, which are coated with a polymer or ceramic that expand in size when they detect a specific molecule. As they expand, the resistance of the device changes so you can easily and reliably determine a concentration, to a high accuracy.

MEMS electronic noses have found various uses, such as detecting explosives, and even medical applications for detecting the presence of specific bacterial infections in women’s sensitive areas, but avoiding any intrusive examinations.

Increasingly though, MEMS sensors are becoming popular for detecting alcohol levels in people who don’t want to be caught driving over the legal limit.

So here’s the dilemma as far as I’m concerned. Drinking and driving isn’t cool regardless of whether you are within a “safe”, legal limit and no one in my opinion should feel confident about their driving just because they have a gadget that tells them it’s probably, legally OK to do so.

On the other hand, there are people who might feel fine after a previous night’s bout of drinking, but could use the device responsibly to check that they don’t have any remaining alcohol in their system; and take the bus to work if necessary.

Anyway, it’s available from KJ Global for twenty pounds. I guess it’s a matter of choice if, and how you use it!

6 reviews or comments

Priyanka Says: April 9, 2006 at 10:22 am

Definitely cool.

-osifan Says: April 9, 2006 at 1:41 pm

i think this is cool.
cool for the parents that is. i mean i worried parent that doesnt want their child to be drinking can test him or her.

MEMS bad breath detector » Coolest Gadgets Says: July 11, 2006 at 3:36 pm

[…] We’ve already featured a similar MEMS (Micro ElectroMechanical System) personal detector that measures alcohol on a person’s breath.  This detector is specific to the chemicals that cause bad breath. These are usually sulphur-based compounds produced by food particles trapped in the mouth, and the bacteria that thrive on them. There are other causes though, such as diabetes, gum disease, or even liver failure for example. […]

Ray B Says: August 14, 2006 at 7:14 am

I think that this is cool but could this technology detect the chemical aura for IED’s in Iraq or bomb threats to civilian targets. I think that they would extremely useful if able to do that.
Ray

A. Carpenter Says: June 7, 2007 at 11:42 am

I bought my husband one of these breath detectors. It was a lot of fun- our friends and us were always seeing who registered first. Problems with this model are: it only registers .19 which only takes 2 beers to reach, another thing is it didn’t hold up well with a bunch of drunks always playing with it. I suggest if anyone buys one, find one that measures over the legal limit.

me Says: July 12, 2010 at 1:46 am

Volatile substances include the most frequently abused drug – ethanol. Ethanol (ethyl alcohol, drinking alcohol) is the most widely used intoxicant, legal unless it impairs one’s performance to operate a motor vehicle or other machinery. Some labratories includes this common drug on all Industrial Drug Screens along with other common volatiles detected simultaneously. These include acetone, occasionally found in diabetics, methanol (grain alcohol), and isopropanol (rubbing alcohol). Ethanol is occasionally found in preplacement screens and frequently found in the large Coma Screens, especially in trauma patients (automobile accidents).

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