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A Discreet Wearable IoT Sensor for Continuous Transdermal Alcohol Monitoring – Challenges and Opportunities

11/13/2019
by   Baichen Li, et al.
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Non-invasive continuous alcohol monitoring has potential applications in both population research and in clinical management of acute alcohol intoxication or chronic alcoholism. Current wearable monitors based on transdermal alcohol content (TAC) sensing are relatively bulky and have limited quantification accuracy. Here we describe the development of a discreet wearable transdermal alcohol (TAC) sensor in the form of a wristband or armband. This novel sensor can detect vapor-phase alcohol in perspiration from 0.09 ppm (equivalent to 0.09 mg/dL sweat alcohol concentration at 25 C under Henry's Law equilibrium) to over 500 ppm at one-minute time resolution. The TAC sensor is powered by a 110 mAh lithium battery that lasts for over 7 days. In addition, the sensor can function as a medical "internet-of-things" (IoT) device by connecting to an Android smartphone gateway via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and upload data to a cloud informatics system. Such wearable IoT sensors may enable large-scale alcohol-related research and personalized management. We also present evidence suggesting a hypothesis that perspiration rate is the dominant factor leading to TAC measurement variabilities, which may inform more reproducible and accurate TAC sensor designs in the future.

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