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BACtrack® Wins “Wearable Alcohol Biosensor Challenge” Issued through National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Stacey Sachs

BACtrack® Wins “Wearable Alcohol Biosensor Challenge” Issued through National Institute of Health (NIH)

$200,000 first prize awarded for BACtrack Skyn™, a wearable device that provides continuous alcohol monitoring with Bluetooth connectivity to transmit results to a user’s smartphone.

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA – May 19, 2016 –​ B​ACtrack®, ​the leader in personal and professional breathalyzers, was today awarded as the winner of the top prize in the NIH’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) “Wearable Alcohol Biosensor Challenge.”

BACtrack receives the $200,000 first prize award for its prototype, BACtrack Skyn. The device is worn on the wrist and offers continuous, real-time, and non-invasive monitoring of a user’s TAC (Transdermal Alcohol Content). Alcohol is detected and measured with transdermal monitoring, which tracks the ethanol molecules escaping through the skin. TAC samples are then converted into a history of a user’s BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) with BACtrack’s proprietary algorithm. BACtrack Skyn uses an electrochemical sensor and connects via Bluetooth to an app on a user’s smartphone.

“We are thrilled to win the Wearable Alcohol Biosensor Challenge. We’re excited to bring BACtrack Skyn to market to aid researchers and treatment providers in collecting more reliable data and ultimately, make advances in healthcare treatment,” said Keith Nothacker, President and CEO of BACtrack.

“At the same time, we want to do for wearable alcohol monitors what we did for breath alcohol testers. Early on, breathalyzers were big and bulky and only available for law enforcement. BACtrack made breathalyzers low-cost, sleek, and a safety product that anyone can and should use. We have the same vision for BACtrack Skyn,” concluded Nothacker.

Wearable Alcohol Biosensor Challenge

The NIAAA issued its Wearable Alcohol Biosensor Challenge through in March 2015 with the goal of finding a discreet, non-evasive wearable device capable of measuring blood alcohol levels in near real-time. The challenge was to improve upon existing alcohol biosensor technology used in the criminal justice system and create an alternative for the alcohol research community, one that would decrease reliance upon participant self-reporting. Monitoring bracelets typically used in the criminal justice system are effective but cumbersome and have limited capabilities to estimate alcohol levels.

Participants in the challenge were required to deliver a working prototype and detailed written documentation. Entries were judged based on accuracy and reliability in the laboratory setting, and frequency of blood alcohol measurements; ability to accurately collect and store data or transmit data to a wireless device; data security and privacy safeguards; and plans for manufacturing. The designs were also evaluated for marketability, appeal to wearers, and overall feasibility.

The Potential of BACtrack Skyn

In addition to improving reliable data collection for researchers and clinicians, a wearable alcohol sensor can offer tremendous value to individuals tracking their own drinking habits.

With BACtrack Skyn, a user can passively track alcohol consumption in real-time. There’s no need for a user to take a breath alcohol test – their estimated BAC result is on their wrist, continuously. By syncing with an app on a smartphone or smartwatch, a user can get powerful and actionable data. For instance, a user’s phone could vibrate to notify them that they're approaching 0.04 %BAC and remind them to slow down their drinking, or in the case of sobriety monitoring, a family member could receive a notification when a user’s BAC has gone above 0.00 %BAC.

BACtrack Skyn will be available in limited quantities in Q4 2016. To learn more and sign up to be among the first to purchase BACtrack Skyn visit


About BACtrack

San Francisco‐based BACtrack is the #1 selling breathalyzer in North America, offering a full range of innovative products for both personal and professional use. Founded in 2001, BACtrack helps people monitor their blood alcohol content and make informed decisions about alcohol consumption. BACtrack has won Popular Science's 'Best of What's New' Award for its innovation in health, a Good Design award for best in category for consumer electronics, and has been named the top breathalyzer brand by Car & Driver. BACtrack products have been featured in USA Today, The New York Times, WIRED, Fast Company and other national and international publications. BACtrack breathalyzers are available in 20 countries and at over 15,000 store locations including Walgreens, Costco, Best Buy, Target, Rite Aid, and Pep Boys. BACtrack products can also be purchased online at, Amazon, and Connect with BACtrack via T​witter ​and on F​acebook.​ For more company information, explore our site, w​​