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New Smartphone App Fights Drunk Driving

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On: Fri, Jan 13, 2012 at 10:12AM | By: Chris Weiss

New Smartphone App Fights Drunk Driving

Need to be entertained in the dwindling hours of work? Smartphone app. Need directions to the bar where your co-workers are gathering for happy hour? Smartphone app. Need to make sure that combination of light appetizers and cheap drinks didn't leave you too inebriated to drive? Smartphone app.

A new smartphone app called BreathalEyes gives you an approximation of your blood alcohol level to prevent you from getting behind the wheel.

Similar to the eye tests that police officers use as a way of measuring sobriety at DUI stops, the BreathalEyes app measures your involuntary eye movement to deliver an estimate of your blood alcohol level. Specifically, the app measures a phenomenon known as Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus using the camera on the iPhone.

The app requires a sober tester and proper lighting for an accurate read. According to Wired, testing against a breathalyzer has an accuracy of 0.02% – 0.17% (+/- .02%) BAC.

I hope apps like these don't cost too much money or effort to make, because they're likely to be pretty ineffective in real-world use. I don't think the problem with drunk drivers is that they don't know they're close to or over the legal limit, but more that they have a sneaking suspicion and choose to ignore it. So having an app to confirm what they already know or suspect probably won't prevent them from getting behind the wheel, unless it also automatically calls a cab. Or, I guess since the app requires help from a sober person, maybe that person could just drive the individual home after the test.

On the other hand, the BreathalEyes app could be a good tool for the friends of those with a history of DUI or drinking problems. Instead of just saying, "Hey man, you're too drunk to drive, " they can prove it. And for a $1, that's not a bad thing.

Beware of the disclaimer, though: "BreathalEyes is for entertainment purposes only. Each person reacts differently to alcohol. The test results are for reference only and maybe affected by conditions such as high altitude and interaction with medications. BreathalEyes does not take any legal responsibility."



Stephy21 | 4:46PM (Fri, Jan 13, 2012)

I really hope that people don't think this is going to be very accurate, for $1 its not going to be anything you would expect it to be. I dont get why you need the help of a sober person cause if your in a place were their is drinking involved than i highly doubt their is going to be a sober person their. So maybe they should rethink this app and generate it to be a little more accurate and usable for people who have been drinking.

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