To keep social drinkers safe, one tech company is bringing breathalyzers to the bar

November 8, 2011 By Charlotte Hsu
Ladybug Teknologies is piloting the SipSmart breathalyzer kiosk at bars in Western New York and Hamilton, Ontario. The company's U.S. headquarters are in the UB Technology Incubator.

(Medical Xpress) -- Buffalo Niagara and Canadian tech firm Ladybug Teknologies has launched a pilot program for the SipSmart Network, a breathalyzer kiosk that enables bar patrons to stay safe by checking their level of intoxication before they drive.

The network's main component is a thin, sleek kiosk that encapsulates a police-grade breathalyzer. The machine employs state-of-the-art platinum to obtain accurate blood alcohol measurements, according to the company.

Through the SipSmart pilot, bar-goers in both the United States and Canada will have the opportunity to test the technology.

Ladybug, founded in Canada, expanded its operations into the U.S. market in 2010, opening an American headquarters at the University at Buffalo Technology Incubator. The incubator, run by UB's Office of Science, Technology Transfer and Economic Outreach (UB STOR), provides emerging businesses with the technical, business and financial assistance they need to become a force in Western New York's knowledge economy.

On Oct. 14, Ladybug hosted a Canadian launch party for the SipSmart Network at Koi in Hess Village in Hamilton, Ontario. An American kick-off took place Oct. 21 at Caputi's Sheridan Pub in Tonawanda, N.Y., just outside of Buffalo.

Kiosks will stay at Caputi's and Chainsaw Saloon in Waterloo, Ontario, through the holiday season. Balloons Restaurant and Nightclub in Ellicottville will host a third kiosk for at least a month.

For $5, social drinkers can use the kiosk three times over the course of the night. To get a reading, patrons simply blow into the breathalyzer through a reusable mouthpiece that they can purchase for 50 cents from a nearby dispenser that looks like a gumball machine.

The goal is to prevent drunk driving by giving revelers a simple, inexpensive way to access information that can help them stay safe, said Sherry Colbourne, Ladybug co-founder and CEO.

"Public opinion on the lack of individual accountability is at an all-time high and is echoed in a reduced tolerance for drunk driving," Colbourne said. "For too long, the technology that can separate social drinkers from their keys has been closely held by enforcement and our legal communities. Ladybug is making this technology available to the people who need it the most -- our social drinkers."

"The kiosk system opens state-of-the-art technology up to anyone, giving people of all income levels access to the most accurate breathalyzer technology," said Christine Montag, Ladybug co-founder and chief operating officer.

She notes that by taking multiple readings during a night out, kiosk users can not only find out their concentration, but gauge whether their bodies are in the process of absorbing or eliminating alcohol.

The SipSmart network will complement Ladybug's existing product lines, all of which use technology to promote social responsibility.

The company's other offerings include BAQ Tracker, a personal, handheld breathalyzer, and BAQ Tracker Mobile, a smart phone app that helps social drinkers keep track of their level of intoxication by logging, in real-time, each drink they consume.

As the SipSmart pilot progresses, Ladybug is enhancing each kiosk with useful features for , such as coupons for deals at local bars and a listing of local taxi companies. Users will eventually be able to access their SipSmart profile from their home computer or smart phone and link their SipSmart breathalyzer readings to the BAQ Tracker Mobile app.

Explore further: Research shows a link between alcoholism and memory

Related Stories

Research shows a link between alcoholism and memory

September 10, 2008

( -- A University of Sussex leading expert on the psychological effects of drinking told an audience at the BA Festival of Science this week that the effect alcohol has on memory could contribute to alcoholism.

A real-life zombie story in the life of bugs

June 24, 2011

( -- In a recent study published in Biology Letters, a page of science fiction comes to life in a real-life zombie scenario between the ladybug and a parasitical wasp called Dinocampus coccinellae.

Found in New York at long last: nine-spotted ladybugs

October 4, 2011

( -- The nine-spotted ladybug, New York's official state insect, was feared to be extinct in this state until citizen scientists rallied to Cornell's call to help look for it. Several nine-spotted ladybugs were ...

Recommended for you

Inferring urban travel patterns from cellphone data

August 29, 2016

In making decisions about infrastructure development and resource allocation, city planners rely on models of how people move through their cities, on foot, in cars, and on public transportation. Those models are largely ...

How machine learning can help with voice disorders

August 29, 2016

There's no human instinct more basic than speech, and yet, for many people, talking can be taxing. 1 in 14 working-age Americans suffer from voice disorders that are often associated with abnormal vocal behaviors - some of ...

Apple issues update after cyber weapon captured

August 26, 2016

Apple iPhone owners on Friday were urged to install a quickly released security update after a sophisticated attack on an Emirati dissident exposed vulnerabilities targeted by cyber arms dealers.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Nov 08, 2011
Would this lead to more people driving just under the limit, rather than not drinking in the first place, or waiting long enough to be sure when they intend to drive?

Even a small amount of alcohol produces an increased risk of accident, just like being tired behind the wheel. Combine the two - an evening out and a bit of "social drinking"... but hey, as long as you're under the limits right?

Some places allow you to drive at .08 BAC which according to Wikipedia has measurable effects on: Reasoning, Depth perception, Peripheral vision, Glare recovery.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.