In recent years, smartphones have become an all-in-one package of various sensors and processors. As a result, scientists and researchers are constantly finding new ways to use these sensors for various purposes. Previously, we have seen researchers use smartphones to monitor users’ mental health. Presently recent research has shown that smartphones can warn you when you are drunk using an existing sensor.
According to the study by researchers from Stanford University and the University of Pittsburg, a smartphone, using its accelerometer, can tell whether its owner is drunk or not. The researchers have a proof of concept as they experimented on a sample of 22 participants. And the smartphone was capable to recognize a drunk person with 92% accuracy.
Now, past research has shown that a major sign of intoxication is a wobbly gait. We’ve all been in that situation when we see the whole world spinning and swaying from left to 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 individual’s movement. If they walk straight, they are sober. However, if they have an oscillating gait or move left and right while walking, they are intoxicated.
Now, in the experiment the researchers conducted with 22 participants, they strapped the phone behind their back to measure their movement. However, in a real-world situation, a person would never hold the phone behind their back in any situation.
To make sure their system works outside of a controlled environment, lead researcher Brian Suffoletto says they will test their system in a bar or crowded venue with smartphones in participants’ hands or pockets.
Therefore, soon, smartphones could prevent users from driving their cars while drunk. As a result, it will dramatically improve road safety and increase user safety.