Over the past few years, smartphones have become an all-in-one package of various sensors and processors. As a result, scientists and researchers are constantly coming with new ways to use these sensors for varied purposes. Earlier we have seen researchers use smartphones to monitor users’ mental health. Now, a recent study has shown that smartphones can tell you when you are drunk using an already existing sensor.
According to the study by the researchers of Stanford University and the University of Pittsburg, a smartphone, by using its accelerometer, can tell if its owner is drunk or not. The researchers have a proof-of-concept as they performed an experiment on a sample of 22 participants. And the smartphone was able to detect a drunk person with 92% accuracy.
Now, previous researches have shown that a major sign of intoxication is a swaying gait. We all have been in that situation when we see the whole world spinning and sway left and right in an attempt to walk straight. So, the researchers used this concept and suggested the idea of using the built-in accelerometer (used to track steps) in smartphones to track the motion of the individual. If they walk straight, they are sober. However, if they have a swaying gait or left and right motion while walking, they are intoxicated.
Now, in the experiment which the researchers performed on 22 participants, they strapped the phone to their back in order to measure their motion. However, in a real-world situation, an individual would never strap his/her phone to their back in any situation.
To ensure that their system works outside of a controlled environment, the lead researcher, Brian Suffoletto says that they will be testing their system in a bar or a crowded place with the smartphones in the participants’ hands or pockets.
So, in the near future, smartphones might be able to prevent users from driving their cars while drunk. As a result, it will improve road safety drastically as well as increase the safety of the users.