Really smart alcohol testing technology

Sobriety tests may be getting high tech, but there’s one device that is still the best for measuring alcohol concentration – the fuel cell breathalyser.

From Canada comes news of scientists’ claims that reciting tongue-twisting speeches is a smart way of conducting alcohol testing. Before you start breaking out the ‘Peter Piper’s pickled peppers’ or ‘Sally selling seashells by the seashore’ next time you have a night out, let’s explain.

The scientific research published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs suggests the voice can be used as an indicator of intoxication. Not surprising when you consider our voices are the result of high-level sensory, cognitive and motor processes requiring coordination of more than 100 muscles.

It’s also not surprising when most of us have observed friends and family who have been intoxicated. Many people who drink alcohol to the point of being drunk slur their speech and struggle with even basic sentences. Along with balance, coordination and other behaviours, it’s been long known that muddled speech and slurring is a possible sign of someone who is drunk.

For the study, scientists gave subjects large, weight-based doses of alcohol to intoxicate them and observed them reciting a different tongue-twister every hour. Artificial intelligence was used to analyse speech to predict intoxication with 98 percent accuracy.

Wow, 98 percent accuracy! Before you head online looking for this AI marvel, even the researchers say that more research is necessary. The study had only 18 participants, didn’t include a wide diversity of the population and didn’t investigate other parts of speech like volume.

The vocal AI analysis isn’t the only way that people are trying to come up with ways to measure intoxication. For example, sensors that can be included in wearable devices are being developed to measure alcohol concentration through the skin. Other studies are being conducted that observe the gait (i.e. the way people walk) while wearing a smartwatch connected to a phone.

The smarter way to measure intoxication

According to the US’s National Library of Medicine, the field of alcohol intoxication sensing is not new. In fact, people have been trying to come up with ways to measure intoxication for over 100 years. The earliest known method was introduced by scientist Erik Widmark.

While it is highly likely people involved in the fields of medicine, chemistry and computer science will come up with hi-tech ways to measure alcohol concentration in the future, the best method available today is the fuel cell breathalyser. These are the devices that police use across the globe to measure the alcohol concentration of vehicle users.

The only issue is that good fuel cell breathalysers are not cheap. Although, with an Integrity Sampling Christmas Special, they’re not overly expensive either. Currently you can purchase one of the world’s best personal fuel cell breathalysers – the Drager Alcotest 4000 – for only $340.

This is really smart technology that is used for over 30 million breath alcohol tests ever year. It’s small enough to fit into a small handbag or trouser pocket and is ready for use almost immediately. It’s precise and reliable – your perfect companion for work drinks or a night out.


Sobriety tests may be getting high tech, but there’s one device that is still the best for measuring alcohol concentration – the fuel cell breathalyser.

By Michael

Michael is the founder of Integrity Sampling and is responsible for overseeing all national operations. He is based at Integrity Sampling's head office in Melbourne and is also responsible for the co-ordination of drug and alcohol testing within Victoria, assisting in the implementation of drug and alcohol (fit for work) policies and the presentation of drug and alcohol education and awareness programs. You can connect with Michael Wheeldon on LinkedIn

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