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DrinkMate is a breathalyser that fits on your key ring

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Could save your life

Drinking and driving is a definite no-no, but if you want to see how close you are to the legal drink drive limit, this little device could come in handy.

It’s called DrinkMate, and it’s a breathalyser that clips on your key ring. Hence it’s small enough to take with you everywhere you go.

It’s powered by your Android smartphone. Plug it into your handset’s microUSB port, and it’ll draw power. But don’t worry about running down your battery – it only takes seven seconds to warm up.

Blow into it, and a fraction of a second later it’ll analyse your blood alcohol level (BAC) within plus or minus 0.01 per cent. It’ll display this on-screen using the companion app. If you’re under the limit, a thumbs up icon will appear, telling you you’re good to go. Over the limit? It’s thumbs down we’re afraid, and it’s either the bus or a cab for you.

The app will also walk you through how to use DrinkMate, and common issues to avoid, such as blowing too hard or using it too soon after having a drink.

It’s already surpassed its funding goal of $40,000, and should be shipped by December 1 – just in time for Christmas party season. If you want to pledge your support, head over to the Kickstarter page and chip in. Pledge $3,000 or more, and you’ll be flown out to the US to meet the team behind DrinkMate. Though you can pledge a lot less than that, obviously.

DrinkMate is Android-only at the moment, but an iOS version will follow hot on the heels.

John Gass

September 2, 2014, 8:53 am

"If you’re under the limit, a thumbs up icon will appear, telling you you’re good to go."

Normally articles about such devices carry a clearer warning about not drinking and driving, and not relying on the accuracy of these gadgets. The biggest danger is that some people might use it to drink until they are just under the legal limit. But, of course, blood alcohol levels continue to rise for a while after consuming the alcohol. The answer is simply to not drink alcohol if you plan to drive.

Emil

September 2, 2014, 8:54 am

"[W]ithin plus or minus 0.01 per cent" i.e. within +/- 0.1 per thousand seems like a pretty large potential error? In Sweden the limit is 0.2 per thousand meaning that you could be 50 % over the limit while this device still shows you're under?

schriss

September 2, 2014, 3:06 pm

This should be integrated into the actual car key, then it would be useful and would work as intended. Car wouldn't start above limit, simple.

Evan

September 2, 2014, 3:57 pm

Of course you're right, no drinking is obviously the best prevention but there are a few scenarios where it might not be so obvious.

One of the dangers of drink driving many people are not aware of is the morning after a binge. Alcohol remains in your blood stream for hours (time can vary for different people) and this type of device can help people make sure they're not still over the limit the morning after.

John Gass

September 2, 2014, 7:29 pm

That's a good point, about checking your alcohol level the morning after.

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