Measuring and Saving Saliva Alcohol Levels With a Smartphone Attachment

26 October 2015
 

Measuring and Saving Saliva Alcohol Levels With a Smartphone Attachment

 
Researchers at Purdue have developed an optical attachment and smartphone app that allows users to objectively analyze and save results from paper-based saliva alcohol tests
 
WASHINGTON — A researcher team from Purdue University, Indiana have developed a smartphone device and an app that together quantitatively analyzes and store the results of strip-based saliva alcohol tests — which is helpful, since the current method consists of matching up the strip against a color scale on its packaging. The dipsticks used are sensitive to the saliva alcohol range of 0.02% to 0.30%, which is sufficient to determine if someone should be operating a motor vehicle. Additionally, the app allows for storage and recall of this data.
 
"It depends on your subjective interpretation of colors," said Euiwon Bae, senior research scientist, Purdue University School of Mechanical Engineering, Indiana, "we try to avoid that, so we made a system that can be easily integrated in a smartphone."
 
Bae's previous work has involved using lasers and optical methods to provide quantitative measurements of samples, such as bacterial colonies. He and his colleagues, working in collaboration with Novilytic  for alcohol sample preparation— a local startup company in West Lafayette, Indiana — describe their device this week in Applied Optics, a journal of The Optical Society.
 
The attachment itself is small, measuring 25 x 12 x 12 millimeters, and consists of a plano-complex lens, mirror reflector, and plastic diffuser that allow for consistent illumination conditions via the phone's LED. The strips fit into a small chamber above the camera lens, and the device attaches to a metal strip in the smartphone's case by way of a weak magnetic strip. Because the device is manufactured in a laboratory setting, the device's plastic casing and lens are relatively low in cost.
 
The dipstick tests work by using a reaction between ethyl alcohol and alcohol oxidase to produce hydrogen peroxide, which then mixes with the enzyme ABTS and is converted by peroxidase, another enzyme, into a green-colored complex. Darker hues correspond to higher ethanol contents.
 
This change is colorimetrically analyzed by an in-house MATLAB program within the app that imports the images, crops them to a 120 x 120 pixel center area and examines them with Red-Green-Blue and Hue-Saturation-Value color schemes.
 
"With the app, you can record the digital image of your dipstick, calculate the concentration, date and time of the recording, and also geographical locations — everything is stored in the database of your phone,” said Bae. “Practically speaking, if you are in the middle of a legal dispute, you have proof at your fingertips — when it was taken, where it was taken, what your concentration was, everything."
 
Future work for Bae and his colleagues involves expanding the device's analytic applications in food safety. "When you have outbreak situations, or even before you have them, one quick way to see whether you have salmonella present is by using these assays," Bae said.
 
Paper: Y. Jung, J. Kim, O. Awofeso, H. Kim, F. Regnier, E. Bae. “Smartphone-based colorimetric analysis for detection of saliva alcohol concentration,” Applied Optics 54, 9189-9189 (2015).
 
About Applied Optics
Applied Optics publishes in-depth articles emphasizing applications-centered research in optics. Published three times each month, Applied Optics’ articles cover topics such as optical technology, photonics, lasers, information processing, sensing and environmental optics. For more information, visit OSA Publishing.

About The Optical Society
Founded in 1916, The Optical Society (OSA) is the leading professional organization for scientists, engineers, students and entrepreneurs who fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate achievements in the science of light. Through world-renowned publications, meetings and membership initiatives, OSA provides quality research, inspired interactions and dedicated resources for its extensive global network of optics and photonics experts. OSA is a founding partner of the National Photonics Initiative and the 2015 International Year of Light. For more information, visit: www.osa.org.
 
Media Contacts:
MediaRelations@osa.org

Research Contact:
Euiwon Bae
ebae@purdue.edu
Purdue University
 
 

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