How to Use a Biosensor Tattoo to Prevent Tragedy
How to use a biosensor tattoo to prevent tragedy is something that I have been thinking about lately. I suppose it’s connected to my overall interest in how technology can be used to make people healthier and safer. This time my particular concern with the latest break through in technology and health has to do with my witnessing the demise of a friend’s dream because of alcoholism years ago.
When I was in college I had a friend, Greg, who was an alcoholic. Like most alcoholics, Greg never admitted to himself that he had a problem until it shattered his life. Greg came from a modest background but still managed to earn a scholarship to one of the top colleges in the country. While the rest of us struggled to get good grades, He breezed through his classes. There was no “freshman blues” for this English Lit genius. He could easily have a conversation with you on the greatness of John Milton’s Paradise Lost.
A moment later he could discuss each meaning of the circle of hell in Dante’s Inferno.
He ended the first semester with a 4.00 GPA . Considering that this was a school where professors with long years of service could still count the number of A’s they had given, this was quite an accomplishment. However, it didn’t take long for the booze to win out.
Certain images are forever forged in one’s memory when it comes to pain or love.
Such was this day when I met Greg at our favorite college hangout.The room was full of overlapping dialogue like a scene from a Robert Altman film. And if you don’t know, those kind of movies often deal with the uncomfortable realism of life— like the first time you see a friend cry.
Here is what it was like for me. Some of the tears got on Greg’s mouth and he trembled a bit as if the salt landing on his lips were a cruel reminder of his sad state. Greg showed me his transcript of the last semester of freshman year. All the A’s were replaced by F’s and he had flunked out of school.
It was hard to fight back my own tears. No, I didn’t feel a “hole in My soul” and my guts didn’t turn to ice or anything of that sort. I can only tell you that I felt the kind of empathy one experiences when watching a friend in pain. I ‘m sure you know what I mean. Anyway, I said my goodbye to Greg. I could only hope that he would finally get the help he needed.
How Technology Can Help People Like Greg
As You can imagine, I was thrilled to find out how an experimental wearable device could help one know whether he or she had too much to drink. If a device like that had been around when Greg had his drinking problem, perhaps it could have saved him from flunking out of college and all the challenges that came afterward.
According to senior science reporter, Seth Augenstein, “Engineers from the University of California, San Diego in La Jolla – with funding from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) – have created what is basically a wearable sensor that detects alcohol levels in your perspiration and then sends that information to your smartphone.” 
Wearable tattoo sends alcohol levels to your cell phone
In explaining how the technology works, Seila Selimovic, Ph.D., director of the NIBIB Program in Tissue Chips, stated in a press release, that the device resembles a temporary tattoo but it’s actually a “biosensor patch that is embedded with several flexible wireless components.” 
“One component releases a chemical that stimulates perspiration on the skin below the patch. Another component senses changes in the electrical current flowing through the generated sweat, which measures alcohol levels and sends them to the user’s cell phone.” 
The phone could then alert the user that it’s not safe to drive
Other Alternatives to The Wearable Sensor
According to Bevin Fletcher, contributing editor and science writer for Bioscience Technology, “While other sensors have been created that monitor alcohol levels through sweat, they utilize insensible sweat – which is sweat that occurs before it’s actually observed as perspiration on the skin, and these results can take up to two hours. Another problem with available systems is that they are not portable or wearable.”
There is of course good reason to stop people from driving while drunk. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports about 88,000 people in the U.S. die each year from alcohol-related causes, and according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 9,900 are killed in drunk driving crashes.
So this is a suggest scenario of how the device would work in real life. Your friend, perhaps someone like Greg, is a problem drinker. He keeps guzzling one too many out at a bar. “ But just a few minutes after taking that drink, the person’s cell phone buzzes – telling them to have a glass of water instead of ordering another.”
Here is The Gist. A technology which is designed to cut down levels of deaths and injuries due to drunk driving, has the added benefit of enabling a problem drinker to be proactive in monitoring their alcohol level. By taking the stigma out and making it less burdensome, the wearable monitor promises to be more effective than breathalyzers utilized by law enforcement today.
Congratulations, dear reader, you just discovered the new exciting technology that is non-invasive and can help monitor your alcohol intake. This will make it less likely that you’ll end up in a car crash or become reckless with your health and future. However, at this point you may be wondering what happened to Greg.
Let me share with you a surprising end to this story. Greg got a second chance. He, after a hard struggle and with the support of loved ones, now lives a productive and happy life.
And with that, let me just encourage you to get the word out right away about this biosensor tattoo and similar devices to help problem drinkers. Let’s do all we can to support our friends who may be going through a very rough time and see no hope. I like to hear from the readers so please leave me a comment below to let me know if this post helped you or if you have any questions.