Could A Wearable Blood-Alcohol Monitor Reduce Alcohol Poisoning?

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2077
Illustration by Esther Liu

Ladann Kiassat

Science & Technology Editor

Notoriously known as a university that plays hard and studies hard, UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) students know a thing or two about party culture. Although all seems fun and well in the heat of the moment, it is quite difficult to recognize dangerous behavior that may be detrimental. The detriment in question is alcohol poisoning, which kills an average of 2,221 people a year. In a lot of situations, alcohol-related incidents do not necessarily lead to death, but rather an irreversible brain damage, forever changing the course of a student’s life.

There may be a solution to this problem. A Santa Barbara digital health tech startup by the name of Milo Sensors has launched IONTM, a wearable system that tracks alcohol consumption at a continuous rate. As the person consumes alcohol, the monitoring system gives feedback in real-time, measuring the perspiration of the person. This technology can have many positive implications not only for college students but also for people who are looking to monitor their overall health.

IONTM has been a work in progress, as the Milo Sensors team came up with this product four years ago. Stephanie Schudel, the product manager of the company, spoke of the launch to UC Santa Barbara Innovation + Entrepreneurship

“As the person consumes alcohol, the monitoring system gives feedback in real-time, measuring the perspiration of the person.”

“Earlier this year, we received preliminary beta tester feedback, which guided us towards some of our new features, such as tamper detection and water-resistance technology,” Schudel said. I am excited to share our new product with our existing beta testers and look forward to introducing ION™ to those who may be searching for a continuous, self-monitoring tool intended to promote a healthy lifestyle.” 

According to Innovation + Entrepreneurship, Milo has received national recognition from both the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) winning over $300,000. The company was also awarded a $1 Million SBIR grant by the NIH/NIAA, further supporting research and business development.

The CEO of Milo Sensors, Bob Lansdorp, has nothing but praise for the launch. 

“This technology can have many positive implications not only for college students but also for people who are looking to monitor their overall health.”

“I am incredibly proud of our new direction: ION™ is more than just a party-gag that you pull out of the drawer for special occasions,” Landsporp exclaimed. “I believe that ION™ will provide a much-needed way to promote, track, and encourage choices, which, as part of a healthy lifestyle, may help millions of people live well.” 

Milo Sensors is currently collaborating with the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation in creating technology to promote a healthier lifestyle. 

Although it is hard to imagine a post-COVID-19 future, Isla Vista will one day return to being the UCSB party hotspot. The launch of IONTM  will hopefully contribute to creating a safer environment for post-COVID-19 party culture not only for UCSB but also for colleges around the world, helping students make responsible choices regarding alcohol consumption. Subscriptions are available for $299 per month, with beta tester discounts and research packages being available as well. To sign up, visit the ION™ website

Ladann Kiassat
Ladann Kiassat is a second-year Cell and Developmental Biology and English Double major. She is the Science and Technology Editor of The Bottom Line. She enjoys yoga and listening to Persian music.

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