The first Breathometer device plugged into a user’s cell phone jack when gauging their blood alcohol level via mobile app. It launched on Indiegogo with an interesting campaign that enabled backers to pay up to get their breathalyzers sooner — i.e. those who contributed $100 got their devices months before those who contributed $20.
That breathalyzer worked, but was a little clunky. In the past 18 months, though, the company has grown into what looks like a serious business. That starts with $2 million in funding the company raised last fall, in part thanks to an appearance on Shark Tank. But it also extends to the technology, design and distribution plans for its follow-up device.
Like its predecessor, the Breeze breathalyzer is designed primarily to measure a user’s blood alcohol content, but it’s taken a few big steps forward. The first advance you will probably notice is the design, which has been upgraded significantly from the previous version. For that, the company partnered with NewDealDesign, the industrial design firm behind devices like the Fitbit Force and the Whistle activity-tracking device for dogs.
The Breeze also gets an updated mobile app for iOS and Android. Instead of plugging into a phone’s audio jack, the new app connects to the Breeze via Bluetooth LE to read a user’s BAC level and provide an estimate for how long it will take them to get back to zero.
The app also has a bunch of interesting new features built in, like menu items to help users “get home safe” without having to drive. For that, it’s plugged into the Uber API to enable users to easily hail a ride. There are also options to call a nearby cab company or to call a friend.
If users decide instead that they’d prefer to stay nearby to sober up with food, the app has a menu to suggest food options. It’s looking to hook into HotelTonight to provide users with options for places to stay if they plan to sleep it off instead.
Finally, the iOS version of the app integrates with Apple’s HealthKit and Health app so you can share data with Apple about just how drunk you usually get.
The biggest advance probably comes in the technology built into the device. The Breeze has a fuel cell sensor built-in that powers its readings to law enforcement-grade accuracy.
In addition to being able to detect blood alcohol content, the sensor can be used to take other readings. For instance, it could be used to detect halitosis or dehydration, according to founder and CEO Charles Michael Yim. And that’s all part of Breathometer’s bigger play — to provide a series of devices that can be used for different applications, all with a similar design and tech embedded.
The Breeze is available now on Breathometer.com and BestBuy.com and then in all Best Buy stores nationwide for $99.99 starting on November 1. That deal gives Breathometer a boost, as Best Buy bought inventory upfront to be the exclusive distributor of the device during the holidays.
But expect more to come from Breathometer, including new devices and interesting new applications over the coming months.