SBIR Phase II: Wearable Nanoelectronic Vapor Sensors for Transdermal Alcohol Monitoring

Period of Performance: 04/15/2017 - 03/31/2019


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Arborsense Inc.
Firm POC, Principal Investigator


The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is through providing a wearable alcohol monitoring device to the general population which will lead to a better awareness about alcohol consumption, and ultimately enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce burden of illness and disability. Incautious alcohol use causes health and social problems that either manifest over time due to sustained drinking (e.g., heart disease, cancer, liver disease, diabetes, etc.), or are short term effects of acute intoxication and/or impaired decision-making (e.g., motor vehicle crashes, violence, etc.). Excessive alcohol use led to approximately 88,000 deaths per year in the United States from 2006-2010 and in 2006 alone cost the economy approximately $224 billion. In light of the above social impact, the proposed graphene based wearable alcohol monitoring device addresses the urgent need to implement health approaches to reduce the loss of life and the huge economic costs that result from excessive drinking. In fact, the growing need for personalized health-care is highlighted by the estimated market size of $19 billion for wearable biosensors by 2018, pointing towards the potential commercial opportunity for self-monitoring alcohol sensors as well. This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase 2 project addresses the unmet need for a small, light, unobtrusive, convenient-to-use alcohol sensor for real-time self-monitoring of alcohol consumption. Excessive alcohol consumption is a health risk behavior and the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Most strategies to improve safe drinking rely on obtaining accurate and timely information about alcohol consumption; these include self-report of number and timing of drinks, breathalyzers, blood analysis by lab, and wearable devices. Wearable alcohol monitors have clear advantages in terms of accuracy and feasibility compared to other methods for self-monitoring. However, current wearable devices for alcohol monitoring are bulky, inconvenient to use, obtrusive, and do not provide consistent, real-time data on the level of intoxication. In this Phase II SBIR project, a stand-alone graphene nanoelectronic transdermal alcohol sensor integrated with calibration electronics and Bluetooth transceiver will be developed, tested and benchmarked on a large group of recruited adult volunteers. Good correlation between the graphene sensor and a legal grade breathalyzer in large-scale human tests will confirm the technical and commercial feasibility of the proposed sensors, which can then be shipped to early adopters, pitched to investors, and ultimately introduced for sales.