Responsible drinking: Could a ‘lickalyzer’ make self-testing more mainstream?

Could rethinking the breathalyzer make it more practical to monitor your alcohol consumption while out and about? During a music festival in Finland earlier this summer, those attending wore a wristband that they could lick to check their blood alcohol concentration.
Responsible drinking: Could a ‘lickalyzer’ make self-testing more mainstream?

Whether at a (too) drunken party or in the middle of a festival, the breathalyzer’s lack of practicality is a brake on the use of this essential self-testing tool, especially before getting behind the wheel. We don’t necessarily think of slipping one into our bag or pocket before a night out. But rethinking devices to monitor alcohol consumption could help address this. For starters, what if a self-test was something that you licked rather than blew into?

The beer brand Karhu, a Finnish brand of the brewing giant Carlsberg, has come up with a brand-new concept of a breathalyzer — or lickalyzer — in the form of a wristband. During the Solstice festival, held in northern Finland in June, festival-goers wore two wristbands: one for access to the shows and another to test their blood alcohol concentration at any time. And the device was very simple to use: you just had to peel back a strip to pass your tongue over it.

Designed by Promilless and backed by the Technical Research Center of Finland (VTT), this “lickalyzer” is equipped with very precise technology, capable of detecting traces of alcohol in the blood from zero to 0.05%. The idea behind this innovation is to make it possible to check your blood alcohol level at any time in order to adapt your consumption, drink a glass of water, and especially, wait a while before taking to the road.