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New 'Tattoo' That Can Detect Alcohol Levels

A tattoo that can tell you when you’ve had one too many at the bar? Sign us up!

With hopes of reducing alcohol overdose, violence and drunk driving, nano- and computer engineers from the University of California at San Diego have developed a cool device that will not only detect your alcohol level, but it will also send the results directly to your smartphone within minutes, according to King 5 News.

“Lots of accidents on the road are caused by drunk driving. This technology provides an accurate, convenient and quick way to monitor alcohol consumption to help prevent people from driving while intoxicated,” said professor Joseph Wang, one of the lead developers. “The device could be integrated with a car’s alcohol ignition interlocks, or friends could use it to check up on each other before handing over the car keys.”

The “tattoo” – which is basically more of a biosensor patch – has a three-part process. The first process releases a sweat-inducing chemical into your body. Although, using sweat to detect alcohol levels has been used before, it would take hours to test, but this new gadget does it within minutes, according to the developers. The second part uses electrical currents to measure alcohol levels. Bluetooth technology then sends an alert to your cellphone.

 (Photo: UC San Diego News Center)

(Photo: UC San Diego News Center)

“What’s also innovative about this technology is that the wearer doesn’t need to be exercising or sweating already. The user can put on the patch and within a few minutes get a reading that’s well correlated to his or her blood alcohol concentration. Such a device hasn’t been available until now,” said electrical engineering professor Patrick Mercier, who is also one of the lead developers of the device.

This “tattoo” is non-invasive and can be hidden under your shirt’s sleeve, so there won’t be a need for you to go under the needle to apply your alcohol detector on your skin. However, don’t go running off to Best Buy just yet, because as of right now, the device is not available to the public. UCSD is still working on making the mobile app more user-friendly, as well as working on some tiny yet essential details before the “tattoo” can go on sale.