This 'smart tattoo' can tell if you're drunk

Sometimes people get regrettable tattoos when they’re drunk. Ironically, researchers at the Center for Wearable Sensors that the University of California, San Diego, have now created a temporary “tattoo” that can tell you when you’ve drunk too much.


This article was originally published by The Influence, a news site that covers the full spectrum of human relationships with drugs. Follow The Influence on Facebook or Twitter.

The wearable device—no, it’s not actually a tattoo—uses similar technology to the ankle monitors that have become familiar sights on celebrities like Lindsay Lohan who have been arrested for DUIs. But this prototype is less prominent, and could be more easily hidden under clothing. According to the NY Daily News, it’s also more accurate than a breathalyzer.

It works by detecting the alcohol that escapes as ethanol vapor through sweat pores, and then calculating your blood-alcohol level. If you’re not sweating naturally, the “tattoo” is coated with a small amount of the chemical pilocarpine, which induces sweat.

The “smart tattoo” can then send the data wirelessly to your phone, computer or car. Or parole officer.

There are some potentially useful implications; it could automatically lock your car when your blood-alcohol reaches a certain level, for example. But it seems likely that this device could just function as one more surveillance tool used by parole departments in the web of complicated and often arbitrarily-enforced rules that many people face post-incarceration.

This article was originally published by The Influence, a news site that covers the full spectrum of human relationships with drugs. Follow The Influence on Facebook or Twitter.