SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The creative forces behind Milo Sensors call their biometric sensor bracelet "the Fitbit for drinking."
"It's a fun device," said Evan Strenk. "It's not invasive, it doesn't prick you. Just put it on and forget about it and all the information is through your smartphone."
Strenk, CEO and co-founder of Milo Sensors and Bob Lansdorp, CTO and co-founder, met with NewsChannel 3 at their offices on the campus of UC Santa Barbara.
The high-tech wristband reads ethanol, the intoxicating ingredient found in alcohol.
"Your skin is a super-highway of small molecules," Strenk explained.
As you sip and schmooze at the bar, Proof wearable is watching your back. And the sweat on your wrist. The device monitors your blood alcohol level through perspiration.
"Say you want to drive home later--you set .08 and all of the sudden your phone buzzes two hours later when you hit .08," Strenk said. "You'll know, in the moment, not to have another drink."
"If you ask the average person, 'How long do you think it takes before you hit peak blood alcohol concentration after you have a drink?'" Lansdorp suggested. "Most people would say, '20 to 30 minutes.' Actually, it's 80 minutes."
The device works off of a disposable, 12-hour cartridge and caters to people who drink responsibly.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health recently awarded Milo Sensors a $223,000 dollar Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Grant to support development of their wearable blood-alcohol sensor technology.
If the sleek device looks like the creators took a bite out of the Fitbit, they didn't. They've had their own research team hard at work in offices and a lab in the Bren Hall building on campus, starting back in 2015 when Strenk and Lansdorp went through the New Venture Competition at UCSB with their concept for a wearable blood alcohol sensor.
Two years later, Milo Sensors revealed its product at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January of this year. Four months later in May, the group launched on Indiegogo, Inc. Strenk said they sold out of 700 Proof wearable devices in one week and reached their $25,000 goal within 24 hours.
Strenk said the Milo Sensors team decided to make another run and sold out of another 700 Proof wearable bracelets, earning $53,000 in one week.
The estimated shipping date is December, at the earliest. Strenk said the company is currently in pre-production mode and working to expand operations into the mainstream market sometime in 2018.
Strenk said a starter kit will retail for $150 and include a Proof wristband, charger kit and a one-month supply of 12-hour disposable cartridges.
The hope is, Proof wearable will be a great way to monitor a night out on your own, rather than at the opposite end of a police stop.
"Our analogy we use is: A breathalyzer gives you one image of your evening, where we give you a movie," Strenk said.