Innovation That Matters

Smart wristband tracks blood alcohol levels

Sport & Fitness

BACtrack Skyn monitors the amount of ethanol released by the wearer’s skin, and links to an app so users can be alerted if they drink over the limit.

Health wearables are becoming more and more useful as their accuracy and ability to analyze data in real-time improves, and we’re seeing this in blood sugar monitors for diabetics and flexible microchips that measure sweat for early disease diagnosis. Now, BACtrack Skyn is a discreet wearable that passively measures blood alcohol levels and links to an iOS device via Bluetooth for data collection and analysis.


Using an electrochemical sensor that tracks the amount of ethanol being released by the wearer’s skin, BACtrack Skyn’s algorithm translates the data into a number of standard drinks consumed. Wearers can view reports of their drinking sessions, and send them directly to doctors, or email it to themselves. Self-reported alcohol consumption is notoriously inaccurate, so the wearable has applications for researchers and clinicians, as well as individuals and families. Once synced with the app, the Skyn can notify wearers via phone or smartwatch, and alert them when their blood alcohol level approaches a certain amount. For addiction counselors and families monitoring someone else’s use, the app can be linked to the cloud for data sharing and additional notices.

The company also offers a smartphone breathalyzer and other portable alcohol consumption monitoring devices. The BACtrack Skyn is the winner of the National Institute of Health’s Wearable Alcohol Biosensor Challenge, and the team received USD 200,000 to further their development. Now in production, BACtrack plans to offer the Skyn for sale in late 2016, with an initial price of around USD 99.

Could the tech be programmed to deactivate cars, and prevent drink driving?



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