InvenTeams – Blog #8

My name is Joyce Rosabia, and my science fair partner is Yuri (Sarah) Choi. Our science fair is a comparative analysis of the accuracy and time efficiency of NIR sensors when determining the blood alcohol content (BAC) versus breathalyzers.

The use of breathalyzers and blood tests are widely used in determining a person’s blood

alcohol concentration (BAC) as they are accurate and reliable; however, they are not time efficient. Most breathalyzers require a 20-minute wait period while an alcohol blood test result have a waiting period ranging from 4-6 days or several months. Near-Infrared (NIR) spectroscopy is said to produce accurate results in a more time effective process. NIR is currently being applied to agriculture, pharmaceutical industry, and analytical analysis, and the results are said to be as accurate as the professionally established tools that do the same job. With this in mind, we are hoping this will be true when applying NIR to BAC detection.

Our science fair project is being used to ensure accuracy and time efficiency of NIR sensors whiling comparing our system’s results with breathalyzers provided by the Hawaii Police Department and a Medical Professional. Being already approved by the IRB for human participants, a willing participants to participate in our study – whether they drink or not – and applying a series of tests to ensure reliability of our data. All participants are required to sign a consent form prior to eating and/ or drinking, and confirmation before further testing will be applied. All information about participants will be confidential, and all numbers will be not be disclosed.

Figure 1: Estimated BAC based on a breathalyzer for both male and female. This data will be used as our baseline when comparing accuracy from all systems. Image credit to Socratic.

When comparing our data, a baseline will be used to compare accuracy of all systems. Figure 1 shows the data we will use as our baseline. Because males and females digest alcohol differently hence the differences in readings on the graphs, we will average the BAC for each body weight and hour and use this as our baseline. We are hoping the NIR will be as accurate or more accurate than breathalyzers so that we can apply NIR spectroscopy to our invention as planned.