Sometimes, after a few drinks, people get a tattoo. Now there’s a tattoo that can tell if you’ve had a few drinks. Best of all, it’s temporary.
Researchers at the Center for Wearable Sensors at the University of California, San Diego,have come up with a removable electronic tattoo that can sense your blood-alcohol level from the sweat on your skin and then send this information via Bluetooth to a smartphone or car computer.
The UCSD device is part of a boom in wearable sensors of all kinds—a surge enabled by the rise of smartphones, which can keep track of the data these sensors produce.
Scientists have been particularly interested in alcohol monitoring. Breathalyzer devices don’t offer continual monitoring, and their results can be skewed by mouthwash, for example, or alcohol residue in saliva. Wearable devices that passively detect alcohol in sweat from the user’s skin—which are sometimes mandated by judges and have been known to crop up in embarrassing photos of celebrities—can offer continuous monitoring, but the gadgets tend to be bulky and expensive.