Today in things that exist: "Fitbit" but for measuring how much booze you drink
Rejoice, all you humans of alcohol-consuming-and-loving age! You no longer have to keep count in your head of how many glasses of red you’ve had throughout the night. There’s an electronic device for that now. Well, sort of.
Allow me to introduce you to Skyn, a new wristband device made by BACtrack that is made to track your blood alcohol content. It works by measuring the sweat on your skin over a prolonged period of time in order to calculate your BAC. It can’t tell you right away how high your BAC is, though, because it takes about 45 minutes for alcohol to metabolize in the system. But what it can do is “help doctors accurately measure a patient’s drinking history, and not just depend on the most recent tests,” says Dr. George Koob of the National Institute of Health (NIH). I guess you could say it’s best for keeping track of long-term drinking habits.
BACtrack is the company responsible for smartphone breathalyzers, and in the past they’ve been famous for collecting data and discovering which NFL teams have the drunkest fans and what days of the week Americans drink the most. So, yeah, they like to work on booze-related stuff.
Before you get too excited, know that it’s not approved by the FDA quite yet. In fact, it hasn’t even been submitted for approval. It wasn’t even initially supposed to be marketed for recreational use. In March 2015 the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism had a “Wearable Alcohol Biosensor Challenge.” They were trying to find a “discreet, non-evasive wearable device capable of measuring blood alcohol levels in near real-time.” The NIH named BACtrack’s Skyn as the winner, and they were awarded $200,000 in prize money. Apparently, this whole project was done in an attempt to “improve upon existing alcohol biosensor technology used in the criminal justice system and create an alternative for the alcohol research community.”
Will it become as popular as the Fitbit that has taken the world by storm? Only time will tell, I guess. In the meantime, you’ll have to keep tabs of how many glasses of wine you’ve had the old fashioned way. And remember (seriously), drink responsibly!