A Breathalyzer is a device used to indirectly estimate BAC (Blood alcohol content), identified through the analysis of the breath sample. Being portable and handy to use, this device gives instant and accurate blood alcohol content. It is very important to keep drunk drivers off the road from the public safety point of view. As per the data provided by CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), approximately 29 people die in the United States every day due to alcohol influenced motor crash.
Taking urine and blood samples at the site and examining it later is not practical and feasible, hence this device has a good market growth as it assesses the amount of alcohol in one’s breath within a few minutes.
How does the breathalyzer work?
The remote Breathalyzers are a handy and portable electrochemical fuel cell-based instrument that is utilized for preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) or preliminary breath test (PBT) performed in the field. These instruments work on the principle of a chemical reaction between potassium dichromate, sulfuric acid, silver nitrate, and water.
Whenever the alcohol is present in the air, sulfuric acid absorbs it and the solution color changes from reddish orange to green color (this color change is due to the reduction of dichromate ions to chromium ions). The reaction is catalyzed by the presence of air and as per the degree of color change, the amount of alcohol is identified in the exhaled air. The reacted mixture is then compared with the nonreacted mixture in the photocell system, which creates an electric current that helps to move the needle in the instrument to compute the BAC (Blood alcohol content).
There are three categories of breathalyzers
Fuel Cell-based breathalyzers: These testers are categorized as professional-level devices and are highly sensitive. The analyzers are portable and provide an accurate reading. The tester identifies the level of intoxication through the alcohol oxidation in breath samples. An electric current is generated as the device enables a chemical reaction as soon as it comes in contact with alcohol exhaled air. The electric current produced by this device is proportional to the amount of alcohol present in the blood and thus calculates the person’s BAC.
Semiconductor oxide-based testers: These testers are new in the market and use alcohol-based sensors to identify the content level in the blood. However, they are categorized as a personal model due to their relatively low accuracy.
Spectrophotometer testers: These testers use infrared light to test the BAC and are not portable.
Hound Marijuana Breathalyzer
Hound Lab Inc has been continuously performing clinical trials and testing marijuana and alcohol breathalyzer for the past three years. As per the clinical trial analysis, it was confirmed that the Hound breathalyzer meets the ultra-sensitivity requirement to measure THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) in a breath.
Breathalyzer by Hound is the world’s first device that measures alcohol level and THC from recent marijuana use in a breath. It provides accurate information that would usually require blood tests, urine tests or oral fluid (which takes days or weeks) in a short period of time. This device has the ability to measure even the ultra-low levels of THC in a breath and has huge prospects for growth over the next decade
The Implantable chip
A team of scientists from the University of California, at San Diego, have innovated a tiny implantable chip for alcohol monitoring. This biosensor has a size of around 1.5 cubic millimeters and is injected beneath the skin and powered by a wearable smart-watch.
The chip contains a sensor that is coated in alcohol oxidase. Alcohol oxidase is an enzyme that generates a byproduct when it encounters alcohol. As the sensor detects the byproduct, it transmits a signal to the wearable device that powers the chip. This signal is then transmitted to officials or doctors who are examining the person. There are other sensors in the chip which measure the signals and pH levels in order to provide the accurate readings of blood alcohol level. This Hi-end technology is being developed not only for alcohol monitoring but also for other disease monitoring applications that would further help in numerous treatments.
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