Smartphones have several in-built sensors that can be put to a varied use. One such use, as per a new research, is to determine how drunk one is and to warn them if they are too drunk to drive.
A preliminary study was recently published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs by a team of researchers. The study focuses on using smartphones as a way to determine if a person is over the legal drinking limit for driving or not. Interestingly, the researchers claim to have gotten correct results almost 90% of the time using smartphones.
The preliminary study urges more research on the method, with an eventual aim of developing it into a widespread application of smartphones.
The smartphone research
For the study, the researchers monitored 22 participants aged between 21 and 43. Each participant was made to consume a vodka-and-lime-juice drink every hour, until they had reached the drink-drive limit for the UK and US (80mg per 100ml of blood).
Every two hours, these participants were required to walk 10 steps in a straight line, turn around, and walk 10 steps back. While doing so, a smartphone was attached to their backs to monitor their gait.
The study claims that the smartphones were able to detect if a participant was over the legal limit for driving with “an accuracy of around 90%.” The study clarifies that “amplitude and variance along the x-axis of the phone” were key predictors in the research, i.e. side to side swaying during walking.
Call for more research
Researchers mention that these findings of the preliminary study are limited as of now. That is because of a “relatively small sample size” and controlled setting of data measurement.
It does, however, ascertain that the new method can be used to detect the drunken state of an individual using nothing but a smartphone.
If more research is done on the same, this might lead to a development of an application wherein a person simply walks in a straight line with his/ her smartphone in the pocket, and the device will flash a warning if it detects them to be too drunk.