Wearable health trackers are quickly moving into the mainstream. But what if you could monitor your drinking across the week as easily as your steps, calories, and sleep cycle? A personal device that could measure blood alcohol level in real-time would be invaluable to scientists who study alcohol use and to individuals just looking to track their own drinking habits.
This is the $300,000 challenge – issued by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health – help us design a better alcohol biosensor; one that improves on current technology by providing real-time monitoring in an elegant and inconspicuous device.
Currently, the criminal justice system uses wearable alcohol monitors – think of the bulky ankle bracelets seen on several high-profile celebrities. But these devices are cumbersome and give readings only every 30 minutes.
The winner of the contest will design a discreet wearable prototype that provides real-time blood alcohol monitoring. This could mean jewelry or clothing, but NIAAA welcomes and encourages out-of-the box creativity. The device must be able to measure blood alcohol level, interpret the data, and then store it or transmit it wirelessly to a smartphone or other device.
Entries must be working prototypes and submissions are due by December 1, 2015. Judging is expected to begin in January 2016, with winners announced on or after February 15, 2016. The first prize winner will receive $200,000 and the second prize will receive $100,000.