General Question

LuckyGuy's avatar

Would you want a smart watch to have the ability to tell you blood alcohol level and/or other drug intoxication levels?

Asked by LuckyGuy (43811points) September 18th, 2023
34 responses
“Great Question” (3points)

Would that be a turn off for you or would it encourage you to get one?
I have been working on a calibration for BAC and now have something that is extremely sensitive – resolution in the 0.002 range.
I am considering looking at marijuana and THC. Would you ever want to know your level?
Privacy is critical so the info must stay local, i.e. on the watch only.
How much would you pay for such a device?

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Blackwater_Park's avatar

That’s a genie that many won’t want out of the bottle to be honest. Once the technology is available, it’ll likely become mandatory for things like insurance. Insurance companies already tie into the tracking of new cars and you often cannot opt out. Employment, health insurance, you name it, will be next. I don’t really drink anymore and I never did marijuana so it’s not very useful for me. I’d much rather see things like cholesterol, blood sugar and other biomarkers being tracked.

chyna's avatar

I personally wouldn’t need those apps on my watch and I do wonder if the people that might need to know their BAC, would they actually use it?

Blackwater_Park's avatar

BAC devices are cheap, accurate and are not “tracked.” This is what people who want to know still use these days. I remember using one at home and I tested what the “legal limit” was for my state. All I’m going to say is that people who get DUIs deserve them.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t care for me, because I don’t drink or use MJ, but I think it’s a great idea!

If it happened to be included on a watch with other apps I think someone like my husband who drinks 4 times a year would use it out of curiosity for fun, or just to be certain before driving.

I guess a negative is if people rely on the watch. Just thinking about my husband he’s pretty tipsy on one beer. The watch would say he’s ok to drive, but I would want to wait 45 minutes before getting in the car.

People who drink all the time it might reel them in. It’s worth it if that’s the case. If it keeps them from “having another.”

I like the idea.

I want a watch that checks my blood pressure.

jca2's avatar

I drink very little on few occasions per year and I don’t smoke pot so I don’t know if it would be something I would want personally, but I think there would be a market for it.

Are you going to manufacture it?

JLeslie's avatar

I have a question, so would the watch not be attached to the internet at all? That’s probably better, so people don’t worry.

A great thing about the watch compared to other devices is no one knows you’re checking your blood alcohol content when you look at your watch, as opposed to other devices.

If I were a drinker or pot smoker I would pay $150 for the watch if all it did was tell time and check for drugs. If you can get it covered by insurance maybe you can charge more. I hate that about our health system, but it is what it is.

gondwanalon's avatar

I have an Apple Watch 2. I don’t trust it to give me accurate heart rates or heart arrhythmia information (I’ve been dealing with various heart arrhythmias for 22 years). I use a chest strap (Fourth Frontier for very exact heart information including continuous ECG’s). I certainly wouldn’t trust an Apple Watch 2 to give me reliable blood drug titer information either. I’ve never drank alcohol, used tobacco, marijuana or other recreational drugs.

Apple Watch 2 is good for accurate time, messages, counting your daily steps and crappy phone calls. Guess it’s time to upgrade. HA!

I’d pay a big pile of money for an accurate Apple Watch. Apple Watch 8 costs around $400. Very nice. Very nice. But how does it perform?

LuckyGuy's avatar

The watch would not be connected to the internet at all. It will not connect to the mother ship and will not get updates unless you download on another device and install them on your own.How often do you update your Casio? Never.
The device will not work until it has learned your physiology by being on your person for about a month. Then it will know you, and only you, very well.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Blackwater_Park I’ve checked my BAC with a good unit and at 0.04, half the limit, I wouldn’t even consider driving. It absolutely would not be safe. i don’t understand how someone could get behind the wheel at 0.08 or 0.12% And why would anyone get in the car with them.

LuckyGuy's avatar

These are all good points. I can see how engineers would enjoy the data.

jca2's avatar

A legal issue to think about is if someone uses the watch inaccurately and then drinks and drives and commits a crime (i.e. DUI) and blames the watch. It would have to have some type of document explaining that the manufacturer is not going to be responsible for people drinking and driving or something like that.

janbb's avatar

Not interesting to me as I rarely drink and don’t do drugs.

kritiper's avatar

No. I would only want it to tell me the time, who is calling on my phone (caller ID), and be able to answer the phone with it without taking the actual phone out of my pocket/vest/holster.

I don’t need no stinkin’ watch to tell me how messed up I am…

seawulf575's avatar

My first thought is that any technology you use like that is likely to include some version of transmittal of the data to others. The privacy is the thing. A stand alone item that has no data storage capabilities and no ties to internet or phone lines might work.

But unfortunately I believe it is a limited demand. The people that would need it the most have no concerns about the BAC (or drug usage). That’s why DUIs are so prevalent. Everyone knows after one or two drinks you are starting to push the legal limit. That doesn’t stop people now. I don’t believe these people would suddenly run out to get something to tell them again they shouldn’t drive.

One thing you could be looking at that truly needs to be developed is a test for THC that, like a BAC test, can narrow down whether or not the product in your system is impairing you. THC can stay in your system for days, weeks, or months depending on the test. If you smoked a joint on Saturday and then got tested on Tuesday it would likely show the presence of THC even though you are no longer impaired. This testing is one of the roadblocks I have with legalizing marijuana.

filmfann's avatar

I am seeing party or bar games where you race to hit certain blood alcohol levels.
The potential misuse for this is staggering.

SnipSnip's avatar

I don’t drink alcohol but seems such a thing would be so helpful to keep drunks off the road. The problem is that drunks may not even look at a watch. I’ve been in a conversation about devices to check one’s levels which can be done without notice of passengers. The watch sounds very promising.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Well, you link the watch to your vehicle and it won’t even start until you’re well below the limit. That would be an “opt-in” thing for most people and likely mandated by courts for people who have had issues in the past.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Thanks for all the input! There are so many different points of view!
I liked it because of the technical challenge but it’s clear (if you guys are the norm) it’s not something the public would want.

jca2's avatar

@LuckyGuy I think people would want it, just not me.

I think young people who like to drink (like college kids) would want it.

Cupcake's avatar

This Q reminds me of an old Shark Tank episode – you might be interested to look it up and watch it. I believe they had the same liability concern as @jca2.

I don’t drink or smoke, so I wouldn’t be interested for myself. But I do research with pregnant and postpartum (often breastfeeding) folks who use substances and I think many of them would be interested, particularly in using to time their breastfeeding sessions around lower thresholds of substances.

For young adults/college kids, I’d worry that they would try to outdo each other and would end up with serious, potentially fatal, consequences.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Cupcake I never considered the possibility of it being a “challenge”
“Dude, 0.30! Post on Tiktok”

It is sensitive enough I can enjoy watching my body process one drink. I can’t feel anything but apparently my body does. It takes me about 2.5–3 hours to get back to zero after one glass of wine.

Forever_Free's avatar

In my young and foolish days I may have wanted it.
In my older and more foolish days I wouldn’t be interested as I do not overindulge in those.

I however will go for a smart watch that provides a metric if it is a good day to make decisions.
I will be the alpha and beta test candidate.

LuckyGuy's avatar

My watch is telling me I’m not exercising enough! I split wood today for 2 hours and worked up a good sweat. 108 Intensity Minutes. Now it’s telling me I need 14 hours recovery time.
I might go for a short run just to piss it off!
Hey Garmina! You’re not the boss of me!

chyna's avatar

You tell ‘em @LuckyGuy!

gorillapaws's avatar

Only if it’s integrated with my Apple Watch, would only take readings when I initiated the procedure (i.e. not in the background), and didn’t store the results. Having one that monitored blood sugar levels would be infinitely more useful though. I know they’ve been working hard at it, but it’s a difficult problem.

kevbo1's avatar

I know there are a lot of people who like to measure or record various metrics about themselves. I am not one of them.

The most excited I got about something like that was in my 30s when I waited a year for the WakeMate. With it, you could set an alarm, and it would wake you up at an ideal time based on what stage you were in in your sleep cycle. I liked it for that feature and to confirm that I was getting enough uninterrupted sleep, but once I saw the data looked good, I didn’t want the hassle of keeping up with measuring.

For a while, I measured steps on a walking route that I took, but it quickly became apparent that if I had walked the route, then I’d done enough steps.

Currently, I use my Apple Watch to track my hikes, but that’s only because it captures my route and allows me to share on social media a picture of the route overlaying the terrain.

@LuckyGuy, I can see your device being used as an educational tool. A literal “this is your brain on drugs” exercise. I doubt that an institution would be open to such a class, but I imagine it would be an effective way to educate young people about how a given substance can affect their bodies.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@kevbo1 The Apple watch is tracking way more than just your route and steps. Look deeper and you will find the health app. It has all kinds of info on you. Like, How often and for how long you wash your hands, your cardiac health, aerobic fitness, etc. Just scroll around, you’ll see. So far, it doesn’t have this capability but you know it will eventually.

I like the idea of showing people the effects. It works!

SnipSnip's avatar

Yes. How can I get such a watch?

LuckyGuy's avatar

@SnipSnip I was at a friend’s Clambake party on Sunday. She made a pitcher of cranberry martinis and poured glassed for everyone. – with our names written on the glasses so we would not mix them up. I drank about half of it in about 15 minutes and glanced at my watch. It noticed that my HRV had changed significantly and body stress was elevated. I quietly emptied the glass and filled it with water. It took my body about an hour to process and return back to normal.
I had no alcohol for the remainder of the day and did not miss it one bit.

SnipSnip's avatar

@LuckyGuy Do you know of a way to buy a watch that informs one of his or her BAC. I have a family member who could benefit from such a thing. He will not use the blow tool unless alone but he would look at a watch or similar unnoticeable apparatus.

What is HRV?

LuckyGuy's avatar

@SnipSnip HRV is Heart Rate Variation. That is one of the measured variables that are used to indicate Stress and Body Battery discharge rate on the Garmin 265. I suspected alcohol would have an effect on HRV since it is controlled by our autonomic system and we know alcohol is a depressant. So… I ran some experiments on myself with a BACtrak Bood Alcohol Content breathalyzer and compared it to my HRV/Stress reading on my watch. The numbers correlated very well. The HRV stress reading moved about 10 counts for every 0.01 on the BACtrak. I determined my level of intoxication by controlling exactly how much I consumed and when. Then I watched both numbers go down as my body processed the alcohol.
Unfortunately before the watch can give you such accurate readings it needs to learn your physiology, and that takes about one month of wearing the watch continuously. After that learning time, it will tell you amazing things about yourself.
The new BACtrack is not very expensive $40—$50 and does a nice job.

SnipSnip's avatar

Thanks much! @LuckyGuy

LuckyGuy's avatar

@SnipSnip I am using my watch and its biometrics to measure other things.
One drink discharges my body battery 2–3%. What else can I accomplish with that 3%?
take a short walk, watch a tense movie, enjoy an orgasm, socialize with a goodfriend for half an hour, play with my grandson for 20 minutes.etc.
This is the first time I can actually get objective answers to things I felt subjectively .
It proved to me that alcohol is not worth it. Thanks Garmin!

Forever_Free's avatar

Airfare trips really kill your numbers. Walking with heavy bags through miles of airports have thrown my numbers into a tizzy. I am on the 8th day of being in 10 different states during that time. My prized VO2Max even went down 1 point after a my trip to Vegas for a conference on AI.

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