On your next night out, be sure to bring your iPhone. In an effort to keep drunk drivers off the road, or at least to keep partygoers entertained, Apple has created an app called BreathalEyes.
BreathalEyes is based upon the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), which is part of the standard field sobriety tests given roadside by police officers during drunk driving stops. When a person is inebriated, their eye will twitch and jerk involuntarily when they hold their gaze looking either to the right or the left. The person being tested has no idea their eye is twitching, and can not control it. While this can be caused by triggers other than intoxication, it is a sign of intoxication and is a part of the battery of sobriety tests.
Apple has found a way to put the HGN test on an iPhone, replacing the officer with a few microchips. The test, which Apple insists is for entertainment purposes only, has been tested alongside a breathalyzer machine. The BreathalEyes was found to have an accurate range of .02 to .18, within +/- .02 percentage points. Not bad for a gadget a person can download to their phone.
Is it likely to keep someone from drinking and driving? Probably not. But if it makes anyone stop and think, at least long enough for their sober friend to grab the keys, it will be 99 cents well spent.
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