Alcohoot: A Smartphone Breathalyzer

Since we always have our smartphones with us these days, it makes sense that we would start to have access to helpful apps and devices that play off of that. I’ve noticed at least 5 consumer-oriented smartphone breathalyzers hit the market in the last 2 years or so, and Alcohoot is one of them. If you find yourself in situations where you’re unsure if you’re intoxicated or not, $99 is certainly money well spent.

The Alcohoot device is physically comparable to a chubby, rubbery Zippo and connects to your phone through the headphone jack (it has a sliding switch that simultaneously turns the device one and extracts the headphone plug). AlcoHoot comes with a tiny USB charging cable and a pack of 8 mouthpieces (see the photo below). It connects to a free app on iOS or Android, which gives you all the reporting and tracking on your blood alcohol levels.

I carried my Alcohoot with me during Tales of the Cocktail to test it out. I found the device just a little too large to be carried comfortably in my front pocket, so I kept it in my man-purse on the trip. I never had to charge it, and Alcohoot says it’ll last through 500 breath tests. The main problem I had with Alcohoot is the mouthpieces. They don’t snap in to the device, they just sort of rest on the blowhole (seriously, I couldn’t find a better word for that). I carried 2 mouthpieces with me, but I found it to be too much trouble to put it on, so I just blew into the hole on the device itself. That means, of course, that either I’ll never share my AlcoHoot with others, or I’ll have to keep really good track of the mouthpieces when I do. I noticed a small plastic mouthpiece case that Alcohoot sells on their site, but the device come with 8 mouthpieces stuck into a cardboard sheet.

The process of testing is a pretty easy experience. You need to wait 15 minutes after drinking alcohol before the results are accurate. You begin the test on your smartphone screen, blow into the Alcohoot for 4 seconds until the unit vibrates, then get your number reported on screen. The app keeps track of your BAC tests on a chart in the app until you delete them.

“Legally drunk” is over 0.08% BAC, so reporting higher numbers in red or with some sort of indication that you’re over the limit would have been helpful (remember, we’re talking about inebriation here). It has a orange line on the chart to indicate 0.08%, but it could still be more obvious when you blow above it.

In the end, there’s a lot of wisdom in having a device like Alcohoot around, because it gives you some data about your blood-alcohol level that you probably wouldn’t have otherwise.

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