Breathalyzers, the most widely used non-invasive tools for measuring blood alcohol concentration, are prone to inaccurate results since they can only provide indirect estimates. Although the most accurate technique for measuring plasma alcohol level is via a blood sample, this requires a blood draw. Researchers from the University of California San Diego have engineered a novel wearable electronic tattoo that senses and measures alcohol level in sweat and relays this information to a wireless device via an electronic circuit board. The flexible sensor is a non-invasive, portable, real-time indicator that provides accurate read-outs within 15 minutes.
The tattoo consists of a small hydrogel pilocarpine-eluting patch and screen-printed electrodes. Pilocarpine stimulates the production of sweat, which interacts with the electrodes that electrochemically detect blood alcohol level and relay the data to a flexible electronic circuit board. The circuit board communicates wirelessly with a mobile device, such as a smartphone or laptop.
The device was tested in nine healthy subjects prior to and following alcohol consumption, and it was able to detect the rise in ethanol on the skin. The applications for the device include self-monitoring, integration with the alcohol ignition interlocks of vehicles, or physician and law enforcement use.
Original Manuscript in ACS Sensors: Noninvasive Alcohol Monitoring Using a Wearable Tattoo-Based Iontophoretic-Biosensing System…