For many of us, drinking alcohol is pretty much synonymous with socialising. We enjoy drinking with friends on the weekend, at christmas parties, or with evening meals. However, the misuse of alcohol can have serious implications for individuals, communities and society in general. In light of this, researchers at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) have developed a new alcohol-monitoring implant, a biosensor that can be implanted under the skin to help people quit drinking.
So how does it work? Well, when a person fitted with the device drinks alcohol, an enzyme coating the sensor will produce a chemical byproduct, this sends a wireless signal to a wearable technology, which powers the sensor. “The ultimate goal of this work is to develop a routine, unobtrusive alcohol and drug monitoring device for patients in substance abuse treatment programs,” lead researcher Drew Hall.
The researchers have tested the implant in the lab and plan on testing it further on animal models before moving forward with human tests. The researchers are also hoping that they can use the implant to test for other substances.
Though the implant sounds like a good idea, it does raise some privacy concerns. The sensor is fitted inside a person’s body and researchers aren’t yet sure if it can be removed with ease. In addition, if the implant becomes a legal requirement for convicted criminals to wear then this could spark even more controversy. Of course, the alcohol-monitoring device is in its early stages of development but it is important to note the possible future implications such a device could bring.
Image Credit1: UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering Follow
Image Credit2: vonschonertagen / 123RF Stock Photo