NIH Asks Scientists for a Better Alcohol Biosensor

     (CN) – Scientists will compete to create an improved wearable alcohol biosensor in a contest sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.
     The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, which is part of NIH, issued the Wearable Alcohol Biosensor Challenge earlier this month.
     The contest goal is to create a device that will deliver accurate, real-time data to measure how much someone has been drinking. The data would benefit researchers, clinicians and therapists, as well as individuals.
     Presently, an alcohol biosensor bracelet can only take a reading every 30 minutes. The NIH calls the current model “effective but cumbersome.”
     The winning design could take the form of jewelry or clothing, and it should be inconspicuous. In addition to measuring a person’s alcohol level, the device should store the data or transmit it to a smartphone.
     “This project is designed to stimulate investment from public and private sectors in the development of improved alcohol biosensors that will be appealing to researchers, treatment providers and individuals,” said NIAAA director George F. Koob, Ph.D.
     According to NIH, a well-calibrated alcohol biosensor is more accurate than self-reporting and eliminates the need for multiple blood draws.
     The contest deadline is Dec. 1, with judging to begin in January 2016. Contestant must submit a prototype, photos, videos and data proving the device’s functionality and accuracy.
     The winners will be announced on or after Feb. 15, 2016. First prize is $200,000, and second prize is $100,000.
     To enter the Wearable Alcohol Biosensor Challenge, click here.

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