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Smartphones Could Soon Be Used to Detect Drinking And Driving

How you smartphone could save your life.

Results of a new study have shown that the devices are actually able to monitor changes in a person’s walk in order to detect when they are under the influence. 

The American researchers used recently developed sensors in the phones in an attempt to recognise when somebody was over the legal drink-drive limit.

Results from the study have shown that the smartphones were able to accurately identify people over the limit in around 90% of cases. They were able to do so with the participants of the study walking only 10 steps. 

The scientists made 22 adults drink a vodka cocktail, then attached a smartphone to their lower back with an elastic band. The participants were then told to walk in a straight line once an hour for seven hours, in order to monitor how their walking changed in the time. 

Image via Pxhere

If this study is recreated on a larger scale and found to be accurate it could be used to prevent drink driving, as well as to allow a closer monitoring of alcoholics undergoing treatment. 

Dr. Brian Suffoletto, the study’s lead researcher, had a very personal inspiration for the study. He tragically lost a close friend to drink driving during college, and came face to face with numerous victims and their families whilst working an emergency physician. 

“Because of this, I have dedicated the past 10 years to testing digital interventions to prevent deaths and injury related to excessive alcohol consumption,” he said.

Suffoletto believes that smartphones have unharnessed power that needs to be utilised more. 

Whilst the results of the study are promising, the next step is for researchers to prove that smartphones are accurate in predicting intoxication in a person’s pocket. It seems not many people walk around with their phones attached via an elastic band around their waist. 

If you’re interested in drinking more responsibly, check out this article on what alcohol consumption can really do to you on an empty stomach…

Featured Image via Pxhere

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