New question for iPod: Am iDrunk?


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These days, the iPod can be many things. A musical instrument, a gaming device, a phone, a taxi hailer, a trail tracker.

Apparently, it can also be an alcohol breathalyzer.

With iBreath, a $79 accessory that plugs into the base of the iPod, you can perform your own field sobriety test. The person using it exhales into a retractable “blow wand” and the internal sensor measures the blood-alcohol content. Within two seconds, it displays the results on an LED screen. A reading of .08 or above sets off an alarm, signaling a blood-alcohol level above the legal driving limit in all 50 states.


“We are absolutely not advocating drinking and driving, but we know that people just don’t observe that,” said Don Bassler, chief executive and founder of David Steele Enterprises in Newport Beach, an online retailer and creator of the iBreath. “We don’t want people to think that this makes it all OK, but it’s a safety device that we hope people will use, and it may save lives.”

Not everyone is as optimistic about its prospects in terms of preventing alcohol-related incidents.

Laura Dean-Mooney, national president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said she was worried that young people would use the breathalyzer for drinking games, to see who can score the highest reading. (iBreath caps the readings at .20, more than twice the legal definition of intoxification.)

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-- Dawn C. Chmielewski