If the wearables trend is, in part, about measuring yourself, then the Alcohoot is a fascinating piece of hardware that has a practical purpose and a clear use in the real world. The Alcohoot is a personal breathalyzer, which measures the volume of alcohol on your breath and can track your levels throughout the night.
Just like the handheld units carried by law authorities, the Alcohoot requires a strong breath for around four seconds into the collection chamber. The results of the analysis are then passed to your smartphone or tablet where you can track your levels over time. Connection is through the stereo jack on your smartphone (much like the credit card readers from ‘Square’), which also allows your smartphone to note the battery charge and tests performed by the unit. A single charge will allow the unit to perform around 500 tests, and the makers recommend the unit is returned for calibration after 1000 tests or one year of use.
Along with the Alcohoot unit and a USB charging cable, the retail packaging ships with eight washable mouthpieces to breath through – which allows the unit to be shared during an evening out. If you’re tracking your own levels on the unit the software can be set to display but not record the level for guest users. The same option is available if you would rather not have the levels recorded on your handset.
In use the Alcohoot unit has a comforting blue light to show it is ready, and a small vibration lets you know when there is enough breath for a sample to be taken. It can be a little awkward to hold as you have to use the stereo jack on your handset and the unit can spin around that circular port, but if you’re going to drop it perhaps you’ve already had too much to drink?
Alongside the primary function of the application, the Alcohoot software will show you restaurants in the local area. Even though the newly-launched hardware is only available in the US for the moment, it managed to bring up a decent set of choices here in Edinburgh, so international travellers will be able to find food within walking distance. And at the end of the night, the app can open up Uber for you to order a taxi to take you home. It’s a subtle nudge, but one that is appreciated.
The use of an Alcohoot does lead to some interesting questions about how and why the Alcohoot is going to be used, especially at this time of year with the glut of Christmas parties to attend and the New Year celebrations just around the corner. It’s something that the Alcohoot team have thought about when looking at the target market.
“The goal is to incentivize people to carry a breathalyzer,” explained Ben Biron, Co-founder and CMO of Alcohoot. “Our target market wants to enjoy the night, avoid hangovers, stay up until later, and basically have the perfect buzz.” By tracking their personal drinking habits and providing information, the Alchooot is taking a different approach to the
It’s a different approach to that taken by many Government campaigns, including here in the United Kingdom where there is a strong message against drink-driving at the festive season. Alcohoot is built around taking responsibility for and learning about your own body. While it’s not strictly a ‘wearable’ technology, it’s clearly part of the trend towards personal measurement and development that has built up over the last few years. It gives people the ability to be more responsible about their own actions, and through this the team hopes that users can make smarter decisions while enjoying themselves.
It’s also a great ice-breaker when you take the first measurement at the start of the night!