We began this project with a goal of sending ourselves tacos when drunk; however, it became so much more. We realized that we had the potential to bring a great social change and actually impact the lives of many. Our app quickly changed from a silly but cool project, to an app that could save lives.
What it does
Our hack tests for the user's blood alcohol content (BAC) and allows them to set predetermined triggers based on that result. Our options include ordering food (Postmates API), calling an Uber, sending an SMS to an emergency contact, donating to a charity of choice (Plaid API), and more. All these options can be personalized to desired BAC levels for activation. The food delivery and Uber confirmations are sent as an SMS. One of the goals for the project as a whole is to reduce accidents on college campuses by altering the way our drunken selves make decisions.
How we built it
We built our breathalyzer from ground up, including connecting a gas sensor and making our own circuitry. Next we developed an algorithm based on literature to convert the voltage readings from the gas sensor to alcohol content in the breath and finally to BAC. Alcohol was not used in test! Instead we used hand sanitizer that has 60% ethanol. Next we built a server (on Linode) using PHP and a website using HTML, CSS, and JS in order to give the user somewhere to register beforehand. Next we integrated Plaid, Uber, Postmates, and TextMagic APIs to complete our hack's functionality. And after much testing and troubleshooting, we have our current hack!
Challenges we ran into
Some challenges we ran into were the non traditional translation of Arduino to a PHP server, because we struggled to translate the variables the breathalyzer was receiving to be able to be integrated into the web app portion of our hack.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are very proud to have full functionality on so many portions of our hack. We successfully started from scratch and now can detect a person's BAC via our breathalyzer, translate that to a server, that will, based on user preferences, send a text with different options.
What we learned
We learned so much on every front, from hardware to software, from Arduino to the creation of HTML forms. Everyone had their own areas of knowledge and specialty, but we all learned an enormous amount from each other and the way we worked as a team with new technologies.
What's next for Alco-Mate
Next we would like to improve our website's design, as well as better integrate our charity donation idea, which was essentially to force the user to donate every time they got too drunk, in order for users to be able to put a check on their own alcohol consumption. We would also like to work more on our hardware and style of our hack.