School of Medicine and Health Sciences Poster Presentations

Title

Skin Alcohol Sensor in the ER

Document Type

Poster

Abstract Category

Clinical Specialties

Keywords

skin,alcohol, sensor, ER

Publication Date

Spring 5-1-2019

Abstract

Introduction: In 2010, despite education and awareness, 112 million individuals self-reported driving their vehicle while impaired, and 1.2 million individuals were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. It was reported in 2012 that 10,322 deaths were related to alcohol-impaired driving crashes, and the annual cost related to alcohol related incidents totals close to $59 billion. Although commercial alcohol sensors are available, they typically measure breath, therefore lacking continuous monitoring capabilities and requiring user operations. To address this challenge, there is a growing interest in developing non-invasive wearable sensors, capable of monitoring blood alcohol content (BAC) continuously in real-time. Such devices could be a valuable tool for research, consumer protection, and clinical use in the Emergency Room to monitor patients presenting with alcohol intoxication in a cost-effective manner. Materials and Methods: Transdermal alcohol monitoring is one of the methods to achieve this goal. It measures the transdermal alcohol content (TAC), alcohol vapors released from the skin, and estimates the BAC based on sensor readings. This technology has been adopted in the criminal justice system, especially in cases of alcohol abuse. However, existing monitors are expensive, bulky, inaccessible to typical consumers, and not available for use in a hospital setting. We designed and prototyped a wearable transdermal alcohol sensor based on modern low-power electronics and state-of-the-art ethanol fuel cell technologies. The fabricated prototypes can be worn like a watch or anklet. A small electrical signal proportional to the alcohol concentration is generated and recorded by the sensor system in real-time. The data can be recorded to a cloud database via Bluetooth Low Energy communication through a gateway device. The results are compared against BAC values measured by the standard available breathalyzer in the Emergency Room. Results and Discussion: Testing on known solutions of alcohol has shown a linear response of the sensor, and testing on healthy subjects time after consumption of an alcoholic beverage has shown a TAC response curve over that is similar to that of the BAC response curve from a commercially available breathalyzer. After initial testing in the Emergency Room, design modifications were made to improve the sensor enclosure to eliminate significant fluctuations in sensor readings. Testing is required on more healthy subjects before further testing on patients presenting to the Emergency Room with alcohol intoxication. Future improvements to the sensor include two humidity sensors to calibrate for sweat evaporation rate and a thinner enclosure.

Open Access

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Presented at Research Days 2019.

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Skin Alcohol Sensor in the ER

Introduction: In 2010, despite education and awareness, 112 million individuals self-reported driving their vehicle while impaired, and 1.2 million individuals were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. It was reported in 2012 that 10,322 deaths were related to alcohol-impaired driving crashes, and the annual cost related to alcohol related incidents totals close to $59 billion. Although commercial alcohol sensors are available, they typically measure breath, therefore lacking continuous monitoring capabilities and requiring user operations. To address this challenge, there is a growing interest in developing non-invasive wearable sensors, capable of monitoring blood alcohol content (BAC) continuously in real-time. Such devices could be a valuable tool for research, consumer protection, and clinical use in the Emergency Room to monitor patients presenting with alcohol intoxication in a cost-effective manner. Materials and Methods: Transdermal alcohol monitoring is one of the methods to achieve this goal. It measures the transdermal alcohol content (TAC), alcohol vapors released from the skin, and estimates the BAC based on sensor readings. This technology has been adopted in the criminal justice system, especially in cases of alcohol abuse. However, existing monitors are expensive, bulky, inaccessible to typical consumers, and not available for use in a hospital setting. We designed and prototyped a wearable transdermal alcohol sensor based on modern low-power electronics and state-of-the-art ethanol fuel cell technologies. The fabricated prototypes can be worn like a watch or anklet. A small electrical signal proportional to the alcohol concentration is generated and recorded by the sensor system in real-time. The data can be recorded to a cloud database via Bluetooth Low Energy communication through a gateway device. The results are compared against BAC values measured by the standard available breathalyzer in the Emergency Room. Results and Discussion: Testing on known solutions of alcohol has shown a linear response of the sensor, and testing on healthy subjects time after consumption of an alcoholic beverage has shown a TAC response curve over that is similar to that of the BAC response curve from a commercially available breathalyzer. After initial testing in the Emergency Room, design modifications were made to improve the sensor enclosure to eliminate significant fluctuations in sensor readings. Testing is required on more healthy subjects before further testing on patients presenting to the Emergency Room with alcohol intoxication. Future improvements to the sensor include two humidity sensors to calibrate for sweat evaporation rate and a thinner enclosure.