Thursday 26 May 2016

Wrist Band Device for Alcohol Monitoring Wins U.S. Prize

Wrist Band

BACrack Wins U.S. Prize for Alcohol Monitoring Device

A U.S. government competition has been won by BACrack, a San Francisco-based company with an alcohol monitoring device which can be worn on the wrist, a latest milestone in the progress of wearable technologies that tends to monitor as well as diagnose medical conditions. The company which is a privately held medical device manufacturer, had taken the top prize of $200,00 in the National Institutes of Health – NIH, Wearable Biosensor Challenge recently with its wristband monitor that tends to measure blood alcohol levels through sweat on the skin.

 The said product named as BACrack Skyn has not been submitted to the Food and Drug Administration yet for marketing approval. The head of the NIH’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Dr George Koob had stated that he expected the device to be a valuable resource for alcohol research community.

He further added that it could help doctors to precisely measure the drinking history of a patient and not just depend on the most recent test which could help a lot with the treatment. Medical, law enforcement as well as transportation officials have pursued improved technology in detecting blood alcohol levels. The traditional PBTs – portable breath alcohol testers are heavy, costing over $1,000 and does not provide on-going monitoring of alcohol levels.

Blood Alcohol Monitoring Devices – Big & Bulky

The president of BACrack, Keith Nothacker, had informed that the blood alcohol monitoring devices that have been used in legal and medical circles seems to be big and bulky, similar to a ball and chain for the ones utilising it and that they wanted to make something which people would want to wear.

In its present form, the device though will not be an alternative for breathalysers or blood tests utilised by law enforcement since the device does not offer real-time blood alcohol levels. It has been mentioned by Nothacker that it takes around 45 minutes for ethanol to be transmitted through the skin and the device has been designed to offer a recent history of alcohol usage.

The company had been experimenting with consumer-centric alcohol testing for many years and in 2013 had introduced the BACrack Mobile Breathalyser which syncs with the smartphone in order to track blood alcohol content. BACrack had competed with seven other smaller companies and had won the NIH competition.

Skyn Cannot Replace Breathalysers

A Santa Barbara based technology start-up, Milo, had won the $100,000 second-place prize for its design for a wearable alcohol content tracker which tends to also use skin sensor and links with a smartphone, using wireless technology. Skyn, it is said cannot replace breathalysers which the cops tend to use, since it takes 45 minutes for the alcohol to be transmitted through the skin.

 However, authorities or researchers could utilise it to monitor constantly someone’s BAC levels. The device can alert you, if one has been drinking too much particularly if one intends to drive. Moreover, it could also notify member of a family if it senses alcohol in your system while one is supposed to be on a mission for abstinence.

Though the company has not submitted Skyn to the FDA for approval yet, according to Reuters, BACrack state that it would be releasing a restricted amount this fourth quarter. One could sign up on the company’s website to get notification whenever the wearable would be ready for pre-order.

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