Breath monitoring – a monitor that detects if someone is drunk – has been introduced by a group of students. The device consists of an Nokia N8 cellphone and a custom-built electronics circuit board.
The hardware part of the project was finished in November 2010. In January 2011, the first version of an Android application was released. The application is open source and can be downloaded from the project website.
The purpose of the application is to warn a person if he or she has had too much to drink. It also measures the blood alcohol content (BAC) of the user. When the BAC exceeds a preset limit, the application warns the user and records the measurement.
The Nokia N8 cellphone is used as a sensor to measure the alcohol vapour in the air. The circuit board converts the signal from the cellphone into a digital value that can be read by the application.The project website also contains a discussion forum and a wiki where people can share information about breath monitoring and alcohol.
People who want to participate in the project can buy a kit from its website. It includes an alcohol sensor, cables and connectors, a Nokia N8 cellphone and the electronic circuit board.
The kit can be sold as a commercial product too – however its pricing is still being discussed by the developers of the device.
Advantages of the breath monitoring device:
The device is portable and easy to use- all you need is a Nokia N8 cellphone and the application installed on it.
It measures the BAC of the user, which can help to prevent drunken driving or accidents.
The device is open source and can be used by anyone.
Disadvantages of the breath monitoring device:
The device requires a Nokia N8 cellphone, which may be difficult to get.
The application only has an English version right now, but it can be easily translated into other languages. The developers plan to translate the application into several European languages in the future.
Why people might not want to use the device:
People might not want to use the device because they are afraid of being judged. They may also feel that they are being monitored by the device.
How the developers plan to overcome these disadvantages:
The developers plan to make the application more user-friendly so that people will not be afraid to use it. They also plan to improve the design of the device so that it looks more stylish.
The developers are also working on a breath monitor for measuring exhaled carbon monoxide (CO). It was released in March or April 2011. The monitor can be used to measure blood CO-levels in patients who have recently suffered heart attacks. In the future, it may also be used as a breathalyzer for cars.
It is not an accurate as a standard breathalyzer because it does not measure alcohol but CO. However, since the incidence of heart attacks increases greatly when people drive after drinking, measuring CO can help to reduce them.
The device has been developed by a team of students.