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Smartphone BAC device nears release

Submitted by on April 29, 2013 – 8:28 pmNo Comment

We received this news a few weeks ago, but it’s a product we’ve been following since first hearing about its development.

BreathometerA California company, Breathometer Inc., has developed a Breathalyzer device that will plug into a smartphone to measure the user’s blood alcohol content.

Drunken driving is, of course, a huge problem across the country, and we at Road Trips for Beer stress the importance of responsible consumption of alcoholic beverages. Designated drivers, hotel shuttles, or public transportation are always the best alternatives when attending events that feature alcohol.

But what about when you meet some friends at the pub and you down a few pints with your meal over a couple of hours? You feel OK to drive, but are you sure?

All states have established a level of 0.08 percent BAC, a line at which a driver is considered too intoxicated to drive. (Note: Some people call this the “legal limit,” but that’s a misnomer. You can be charged with driving under the influence if your BAC is below that limit if you show other signs of intoxication, combined the drinking with medication, or other situations).

BAC depends on a lot of factors: your weight, your gender, how much food is in your stomach and your individual metabolism. And if you don’t feel like you can safely drive, listen to your instinct.

Though there are online calculators and other portable Breathalyzer-type devices available, they all come with disclaimers that they are not to be considered accurate enough to pass a test administered by law enforcement.

So it will be interesting to test the accuracy of the Breathometer, and we hope to do just that. The company has promised to send us one ahead of the general release, and we’ll try to do a comparison testing with a device used by a local law enforcement agency. Stay tuned.

The suggested retail price will be around $40, but it has not be finalized.

In the meantime, the company has launched an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign that will let contributors get their hands on one of the devices before the general public, depending on the donation level. It’s reached its initial target, but the developers said they are shooting higher with these new goals:

  • $100,000 – to add one-click calling to friends and local taxi companies.
  • $150,000 – to help select four more Breathometer device colors.
  • $200,000 – to add functionality that will help stop drunk texting when over the legal limit.

Hmm, that last one sounds like it could be very useful.

Here’s the release:

Breathometer Inc. announced it has created the world’s first smartphone Breathalyzer, Breathometer. The size of a typical car key, it plugs into a smartphone headphone jack and, together with a mobile app. transforms it into a Breathalyzer measuring blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

Survey Results and Need for Breathometer

The need and opportunity for a smartphone Breathalyzer is clear. Breathometer and SodaHead.com, the web’s largest opinion-based community, conducted a survey to determine drinking and driving habits and experiences. According to the survey:

  • 64 percent of respondents indicated that either they have driven while intoxicated or have been in a car with a driver under the influence. This extremely high number confirms the need for Breathometer as millions of Americans are at risk every day.
  • 67 percent of respondents know someone that has been involved in an accident involving someone under the influence, verifying that drunken driving has hit home for the majority of Americans.
  • 80 percent of respondents know someone that has received a DUI or DWI.

“Breathometer wasn’t created just to address the risks associated with drinking and driving,” said Charles Michael Yim, founder and CEO of Breathometer, “but to help people, their friends and family, all to make smart and safer choices when consuming alcohol. Real time BAC measurement is the first step.”

Breathometer is both a device and mobile app that will transform iPhone and Android smartphones into a Breathalyzer. Breathometer provides options beyond informing users of their impaired state and plans to connect to local transportation services to quickly connect with a cab or taxi. Upon launch, Breathometer will be available at Breathometer.com, the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Breathometer will be FDA approved and is patent pending. It is ideal for anyone who enjoys even a casual drink, as just one drink can affect judgment or the ability to drive safely. The company will make Breathometer available in summer 2013, anticipating that the affordable price combined with a quality equivalent to current consumer BAC-testing devices will encourage widespread use and help grow the market for such devices.

“Breathometer is as much for a parent as it is for someone who ‘parties.’ Both want an easier way to be smart and safe – for themselves, as well as the people they care about,” Yim said.

Indiegogo Campaign

The company also launched an Indiegogo campaign, through which it hopes to secure final funding for the product and to allow customers to pre-order Breathometer. The campaign will feature a variety of pledge levels from $20 (for a Breathometer device) up to $500 (for a lifetime upgrade of all Breathometer products). Details on the Indiegogo campaign can be found here.

For more information or to sign up to be informed about the latest news regarding Breathometer, please visit www.breathometer.com.

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