Team Members

Ariel Ash-Shakoor - Bioengineering, 2011 - ariel.ashakoor at gmail dot comTahnee Hasan - Bioengineering, 2011 - tahneeh at gmail dot comStevephen Hung - Bioengineering, 2011 - shoghun89 at gmail dot comSynthia Mariadhas - Bioengineering, 2011 - synthiam at gmail dot comMai Tran - Bioengineering, 2011 - maivelousgmail dot com


Alcohol Breath Detector Integrated with Smart Phone to Assess Impairment and ProvideTransportation Options

Proposed Product

The proposed product is a unique device that assesses users' blood alcohol concentration (BAC) after alcohol consumption, in order to affect safe, responsible decision-making. The goal of the product is to inform users of their blood alcohol content, so that they can better monitor their drinking frequency. The product consists of a pocket-size breath alcohol sensor that interfaces with an Android application. The Android phone runs an application that guides users through the breath collection process to ensure an accurate breath sample is taken by the breath alcohol sensor. The sensor sends a wireless signal pertaining to the user's BAC to the smart phone, which then processes it and outputs a digital display of the BAC.

Based on the BAC, the Android application then creates a decision-tree that guides users to make appropriate choices with regards to finding safe transportation options, and, if needed, seeking immediate medical help. Specifically, the application warns users not to drive if the BAC is above 0.00%, and reports a customized message of the legal repercussions and degree of impairment based on the users' BAC, weight, and sex. The application then provides a phone list of trusted friends or local taxi services that can provide safe transportation home. The user presets the contact list. If toxic levels of BAC are breached, the application automatically informs a preselected contact of the emergency, and provides an accessible button for the user to call an ambulance.

The product encompasses several components and tables. The breath alcohol detector includes a fuel cell sensor, sampling system, microcontroller, and pressure sensor. The Android application utilizes a BAC gender and weight chart to analyze the level of impairment.

Currently there are two breath-alcohol detectors that interface with smart phones, but they are small devices that connect to the phone solely as a power source. Therefore, products such as the “iBreath” do not use the smart phone to process and display data (, 2010). Their functionality is also very minimal. Therefore, the proposed product’s improved engineering design and user capability will persuade customers to purchase our detector and application.

Significance of Product

The product is addressing the problem of alcohol over dosage, alcohol abuse, and drunk driving. In the United States, 32 people die daily in accidents involving alcohol impaired drivers. Specifically related to college age students, every year, 3,360,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 drive under the influence of alcohol (, 2010). 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including vehicle accidents (, 2010). According to the National Institutes of Health, students between the ages 18 through 24 may be responsible each year for 1,700 deaths, 599,000 injuries, and 97,000 cases of sexual assault and acquaintance rape (, 2010). Because of alcohol abuse, it is reported that about 25% of college students face academic problems, such as class absence, poor exam performance, and low grades (University of Maryland Department of Resident Life, 2002). While the consequences may vary depending on the location and level of intoxication, the laws are clear across all fifty states. Drinking and driving is illegal. There is a significant need for the proposed product because of the extent of drunk driving and the hazards involved.

The breath alcohol detector combined with the Android application will help students know their BAC level and to be informed on what their BAC level means based on their gender and weight. 36% of Maryland students state that they had more than five drinks in one sitting in the past two weeks, and one-half of those students stated in the same study that they had that much alcohol on at least three occasions in the past two weeks (University of Maryland Department of Resident Life, 2002).


A snapshot of annual high-risk college drinking consequences. (2010, July). College drinking: changing
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University of Maryland Department of Resident Life, Initials. (2002). Alcohol policy. Retrieved from