BreathalEyes: Putting the technology to the test - AmericaNowNews.com

BreathalEyes: Putting the technology to the test

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You're at a bar, you've had a few drinks. You think you're good to drive, but what if you could know if you're over the legal limit?

It's as easy as reaching for your phone, or so the makers of the iPhone app claim. It's called BreathalEyes, and it uses your phone's camera to measure horizontal gaze nystagmus; the same field sobriety test sometimes used by police to check eye movement. The app detects HGN to estimate your blood alcohol content.

It's a bold claim, so we decided to put the app to the test against an actual breathalyzer. The app's website has a prominent legal section with disclaimers, for entertainment purposes only, and claims the technology has gone through 40 years of testing.

We asked two local bartenders to have a few drinks and submit to the app and breathalyzer. The instructions are clear and the results don't take long.

Maegan's app readings were varied. The first time she was right at the legal limit, .08, then .06, and .12. With the actual breathalyzer, Maegan blew much higher; .20 back to back.

Josh had three different readings with the app. .05, .12 and .11. The actual breathalyzer read .19 and .16. Again, higher readings than the app.

The results don't surprise either tester.

"I didn't really know what to think...I hadn't really heard of the app before. But now I don't really trust it. I think it's kind of ridiculous," said Maegan.

"It would end up being a contest...who could get more intoxicated. It would not deter them from driving," said Josh.

Local law enforcement agree, but say BreathalEyes could be beneficial for some.

"It does raise awareness and if it makes people stop and think if they're drinking, you know, 'Am I impaired? Should I be getting behind the wheel?' that's a good thing, potentially. The down side of it is, if people rely upon it and expect it to be accurate, they're probably putting a lot of faith into a free or 99-cent application that has some limitations," said Lieutenant Don Kelly with the Baton Rouge Police Department.

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