Handheld breathalyzers are already on the market, but a startup based in Burlingame, Calif., is looking to make them more user-friendly and possibly more ubiquitous.
Breathometer, a handheld breathalyzer that works with Android and iOS smartphones, claims saving lives as part of its mission. It hopes to accomplish that goal by helping reduce the number of drunk drivers on the road.
The company took an important step toward fulfilling its aims when it met its Indiegogo project goal of $25,000, and the project is still encouraging donations. At time of writing, the company's campaign had accrued more than $36,000.
"The more money we raise, the more product we'll be able to produce and promote. Together we can help prevent drunk driving accidents," the Breathometer campaign page notes.
Unlike most handheld breathalyzers, the Breathometer links its compact blood alcohol concentration calculator with an application that uses an easy-to-read display. To operate the device, users plug the breathalyzer it into the phone's audio jack, launch the app and then blow into the tube.
Judging by the demonstration in the product's promo video (above), part of the display turns red if you're over the legal limit. If you blow green, you're good to go. This offers a notable improvement over other handhelds, whose displays might be hard to read if you've been drinking.
The app also keeps a record of a user's blood-alcohol content. In future iterations, the company hopes to add features like push-button cab service.
Although the $20 "early bird" deal has sold out, there is still a $50 option. At that price point, the Breathometer is slightly more costly than other handheld breathalyzers.
But, as Gizmodo's Leslie Horn noted, "It's a whole lot cheaper than a DUI."