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ABSTRACT:

Non-invasive continuous alcohol (ethanol) monitoring has potential applications in both population research and in clinical management of acute alcohol intoxication or chronic alcoholism. Current wearable monitors based on transdermal alcohol content (TAC) sensing have limited accessibility and blood alcohol content (BAC) quantification accuracy. Here we describe the development of a self-contained discreet wearable transdermal alcohol (TAC) sensor in the form of a wristband or armband. This sensor can detect vapor-phase alcohol in perspiration from 0.09 ppm (equivalent to 0.09 mg/dL sweat alcohol concentration at 25 °C under Henry’s Law equilibrium) to over 500 ppm at one-minute time resolution. Additionally, a digital sensor was employed to monitor the temperature and humidity levels inside the sensing chamber. Two male human subjects were recruited to conduct studies with alcohol consumption using calibrated prototype TAC sensors to validate the performance. Our preliminary data demonstrated that, under well-controlled conditions, this sensor can acquire TAC curves at low doses (1-2 standard drinks). Moreover, TAC data for different doses can be easily distinguished. However, substantial interpersonal and intrapersonal variabilities in measurement data were also observed in experiments with less controlled conditions. Our observations suggest that perspiration rate might be an important contributing factor to these variabilities. Further studies with sufficient sample sizes are required to validate and characterize the impact of different perspiration rates on TAC sensors, which may inform more reproducible and accurate sensor designs in the future.

A DISCREET WEARABLE IOT SENSOR FOR CONTINUOUS TRANSDERMAL ALCOHOL MONITORING—CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES