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The Alcohol Monitoring Tattoo: A Wonder Of The Times


April 25, 2017

Accurate and reliable portable alcohol monitoring devices are an invaluable tool these days. They are supposed to provide peace of mind, accountability, and knowledge that your loved ones are in a safe environment. Continuous transdermal alcohol monitoring is used to monitor alcohol consumption among alcoholic criminal offenders and is also used as a common sanction applied to drunk drivers. The device generally employed is an ankle bracelet that monitors and measures alcohol consumption 24 hours a day, seven days per week allowing the court or other authorities to determine whether the offenders have been compliant with orders of abstaining from alcohol. Devices like interlock ignition devices are meant to prevent an individual from consuming alcohol, however CAM devices accurately reflect BACs through transdermal readings with a delay because of the alcohol absorption and elimination process.

In certain cases, authorities may use Interlock devices in conjunction with CAM devices to monitor drinking behavior. The SCRAM or Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring device regularly acts as an onerous tool in the bond condition, plea bargaining and sentencing processes. A person may be ordered to wear a SCRAM device ankle bracelet before trial, during their probation or as part of a compromised resolution to the case. This device constantly monitors a person’s blood alcohol content through skin contact and perspiration in order to verify that the person hasn’t consumed any alcohol. However, there are certain drawbacks associated with these devices. They are expensive and uncomfortable as they may cause skin irritation. They cannot be submerged in water and are visible unless they are carefully concealed.

However, engineers at the University of California San Diego have come up with an invention that might be a viable replacement for the SCRAM device. An alternative option for continuous alcohol monitoring is currently being developed which combines nano-engineering and electrical engineering to create a temporary tattoo that electrochemically detects the alcohol level in a person’s sweat; which is induced by the tattoo itself. A magnetic connector has been used to attach a tiny flexible electronic circuit board to the tattoo which serves the dual purpose of powering the tattoo as well as communicating the blood alcohol content wirelessly to a mobile device. This tattoo may be used voluntarily or recreationally to measure your blood alcohol levels. People generally tend to avoid getting behind the wheel in unsafe conditions, however most people misjudge the amount of alcohol they have consumed or the level to which they are impaired.

The impetus for the creators behind this temporary tattoo was to create a simple transdermal device that would provide a safe avenue to monitor your own alcohol consumption as this device would be able to communicate wirelessly via Bluetooth with a cell phone, it is conceivable that a person could even set their phone to alert them when their blood alcohol content reaches a certain level. Personal breath test devices are currently available however, most of them especially the inexpensive ones are highly inaccurate. Additionally, they require a 20 minutes break from eating or drinking anything prior to testing so they may provide an accurate result. So the invention of an unobtrusive continuous monitoring device such as this temporary tattoo could help discretely remind someone of their intoxication at social gatherings. If you or someone you love has been charged with a DUI in California, it is advisable to retain the services of a Long Beach DUI lawyer so that you may avoid penalties such as ignition interlock devices or SCRAM devices.

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About the Author

At the Law Offices of Top Gun DUI Defense Attorney Myles L. Berman, our experienced team of DUI / Drunk Driving defense lawyers are dedicated to aggressively defending people arrested for DUI.