NIH: In the search for a wearable or otherwise discreet device capable of measuring blood alcohol levels in real time, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has issued the Wearable Alcohol Biosensor Challenge. The wearable biosensor will aid researchers, clinicians, therapists and individuals by providing more accurate data on how much an individual is drinking.
The winning prototype is expected to improve on existing
technology by providing real-time monitoring in an inconspicuous
package appealing to the general public. Presently, the biosensor
bracelets commonly used in the criminal justice system are effective
but cumbersome and only take readings every 30 minutes.
NIAAA is looking for innovation using a non-invasive
design, which could take the form of jewelry, clothing, or another
format located in contact with the body. The device must be able to
measure blood alcohol level, interpret and store the data, or transmit
it to a smartphone or other device by wireless transmission.
“This project is designed to stimulate investment from
public and private sectors in the development of improved alcohol
biosensors that will be appealing to researchers, treatment providers
and individuals,” said George F. Koob, Ph.D., director of NIAAA.
A number of medical conditions are exacerbated by
alcohol, including liver disease and HIV/AIDS. Research that seeks to
understand the progression of these diseases and potential treatments
depends on the ability to accurately measure alcohol use. Wearable
alcohol biosensors will simplify the process for scientists, study
participants, therapists and individuals.
Well-calibrated alcohol biosensors will provide an
objective measure, while participants will be able to avoid the
inconvenience and discomfort of having blood drawn at regular
intervals. The data collected would also be more accurate than
self-report. In addition, those concerned with their personal drinking,
or in the counsel of a therapist, will be able to use the device
Competition submissions (a working prototype, data
proving functionality/reliability, and photos/videos) will be accepted
until December 1, 2015. Judging is expected to begin in January 2016,
with winners announced on or after February 15, 2016. The first prize
winner will be awarded $200,000; second prize receives $100,000.
For more contest details, go to the Federal Register announcement .
Competition contacts are M. Katherine Jung, Ph.D., program director,
NIAAA Division of Metabolism and Health Effects; and F.L. Dammann,
special assistant to the executive, NIAAA: NIAAAChallengePrize@mail.nih.gov
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism,
part of the National Institutes of Health, is the primary U.S. agency
for conducting and supporting research on the causes, consequences,
prevention, and treatment of alcohol abuse, alcoholism, and alcohol
problems. NIAAA also disseminates research findings to general,
professional, and academic audiences. Additional alcohol research
information and publications are available at http://www.niaaa.nih.gov.
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH):
NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and
Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting
basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is
investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare
diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.