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NY-based startup crowdfunding for Apple HealthKit-integrated, alcohol breathalyzer-app combo

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Globally, traffic deaths are the most common cause of death among younger people aged 15 to 29, according to the latest statistics from the World Health Organization. Concerted efforts in the U.S. over the last few decades have resulted in massive reductions of drunk driving fatalities, but an estimated one-quarter of people in their early 20s still drive while impaired by alcohol.

Alcohoot Edge mobile alcohol tracker--Courtesy of Vertisense

New York-based startup Vertisense is coming out with a serious effort at a technology-based solution: a law enforcement-grade breathalyzer that connects to a smartphone app. It offers a 15-second blood alcohol content (BAC) reading that is reported to the user via the app in the context of global and local jurisdiction rules on legal BAC levels.

The company is in the midst of a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to raise $25,000 to complete development of the device/app combo, dubbed Alcohoot Edge. As of Feb. 19, Vertisense had almost raised the requested sum, with most of the funding coming from users getting the earliest version that's expected to be delivered in August.

It's offering the alcohol tracker, charging cable and two extra mouthpieces, for easy use by multiple users, for $60, which is half of the anticipated $120 retail price. The company notes the device/app combo is FDA-registered, which means it has disclosed information to the agency but it has opted not to review it.

The app is intended to go well beyond BAC readings; it will offer suggestions of and maps to nearby walkable places such as restaurants and taxi stands as needed for users. It will also have a one-touch ride-share feature.

Vertisense launched a prior version of Alcohoot in 2013. Last year, it launched a law enforcement version of the device that enables officers to manage, analyze and share data for DUI enforcement. It's currently running pilot tests with local police forces in Missouri, Arkansas and Ohio.

The latest version will also include the ability to track data over time for users to track their own alcohol consumption, a feature that has obvious health implications and is supported by Apple HealthKit. This includes a quiz for the morning; based on responses, the app uses an algorithm to advise optimal alcohol consumption levels that will not result in impairment.

"With Alcohoot Edge, users will immediately notice not only the updated design, but the accuracy, ease of use and seamless integration with our mobile app," said Vertisense CEO Christopher Ayala in a statement. "Maintaining a healthy lifestyle through the use of IoT devices is a priority for all of us and with the Edge, we enable people to enjoy themselves, but still get up the next day and go on their morning run."

- here is the announcement

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