If you’re in the market for a smart breathalyzer, you have no shortage of choices. Yet Floome manages to stand out in this flooded market by turning measuring your blood alcohol content into a social, shareable experience.
We got a chance to see Floome, the first product from Italian startup 2045Tech, in action at CES 2015 in Las Vegas earlier this year. The palm-sized contraption looked and felt more like a smart luxury car key or a fancy lighter than a breathalyzer. It’s available in black, silver, and race car red.
Fabio Penzo, 2045Tech’s CEO, eagerly walked us through Floome’s capabilities. He connected the breathalyzer to his smartphone via a hidden audio jack and informed us that the app runs on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone platforms. He then loaded up the app (which was already filled out with his weight, gender, height, and age), popped out Floome’s silicone mouthpiece, and blew into it.
Despite his rather suspicious level of enthusiasm, Floome informed us that Penzo was quite sober. But that didn’t last long.
After quickly munching on some special candy, Penzo took another reading. He was quick to point out that you normally wouldn’t be running a test while there was still alcohol in your mouth, no matter what brand of breathalyzer you use—he just wanted to show us the Floome app’s capabilities.
Unsurprisingly, Floome gave a wildly inaccurate BAC reading of 0.74, which means Penzo should’ve been dead. (He was not.) The app helpfully estimated when Penzo might be safe to drive again. He told us that when the time elapsed, his phone would give him a buzz (pun intended, we can only assume!) to remind him to take the test again.
So he’s drunk. Now what? Floome’s menu let Penzo speed-dial a friend to pick him up, hail a cab, or find a nearby restaurant. Other settings within the app would allow him to disable texting and social media access when he’s inebriated, or directly post his drunken status to Facebook or Instagram if that’s the kind of stuff he doesn’t mind sharing. Heck, he could even attach a drunken selfie if he wanted.
The demonstration didn’t exactly prove Floome’s supposed unmatched accuracy, but it did highlight how it's possible to transform using a breathalyzer into a fun, social experience. The sleek design turns a tool for responsible drinking into an interesting conversation starter, and the app encourages users to share their state of inebriation while providing helpful information and tools to get help if needed.
Floome is expected to see a U.S. release in Q1 2015, but we weren’t given an expected MSRP. However, it’s already available in Europe for €49 (about $55), which is in the same ballpark as many other smartphone breathalyzers on the market.