ZDNet reports that researchers founded by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) have developed a small monitoring device that, applied to skin, will monitor alcohol consumption.
This device, which both NIBIB and ZDNet describe with the unfortunate name of wearable tattoo, does look like a tattoo, but it is a removable biosensor patch that releases a chemical that stimulates perspiration on the skin below the patch and then analyses changes in the electrical current flowing through the generated sweat and sends this information to the user’s cell phone. These changes indicate changes in alcohol levels and can help users monitor their alcohol intake.
It seems like a wonderful non-invasive system to help reduce alcohol induced accidents and health problems.
Of course, like with any personal device, the makers will need to address all sort of privacy concerns. Information about alcohol consumption can be a very useful as part of health monitoring but it is yet another piece of personal information that will immediately become discoverable and not just by hackers.
Assuming that everything that we collect through our phone will continue to be stored on the cloud, it will be easy to combine information about our physical activity, heart rates, blood pressure, stress levels, alcohol consumption etc. into comprehensive graphs that could be shared with medical professionals. It is also easy to imagine how this information can end up as evidence in both criminal and civil procedures. Food for thought.