This new tattoo will tell you if you’re drinking too much.

Headache, room spinning, rancid taste in my mouth, a little fogginess when it comes to the details…. Why, why do I do this to myself?

Why didn’t I stop before that tequila shot? Why didn’t I stop after four gin and tonics, as opposed to six?

These questions are the very reason savvy researchers out of the University of California in San Diego have created a temporary tattoo that monitors blood alcohol levels and sends updates to your phone.

(I really am sure it was these questions specifically that lead them to conduct the study. Everyone’s been there, amiright?)

Yes, you heard that correctly: it’s a tattoo that can tell you when you’ve drunk too much. You can look super bad-ass , while having your blood-alcohol content (BAC) monitored via your skin and sent to your device intermittently.

(It’s like that little voice inside your head. That you know you should listen to but, after two drinks, you just can’t hear anymore. It’s just like that voice. But on your phone. And much more difficult to ignore.)


The stick-on-tattoo-like device was tested on nine human volunteers as they drank beer and wine. The device includes an alcohol sensor, which analyses sweat, and also a ‘flexible electronics board’, which sends info on your state-of-drunkenness via Bluetooth to your phone, computer or tablet.

“Upon consumption, the alcohol passes through the stomach and gastro-intestinal (GI) tract into the bloodstream,” the study states. “Afterward, it diffuses to the surrounding body tissues, including the skin.”

Importantly, the technology measures your BAC according to your body weight and tolerance. For example, each of the study’s participants had different BAC measurements, even though they consumed the same quantity of alcohol.


(I wonder if it adopts a stern, Siri-like tone; “you’re taking this too far”; “now you’re going well over the top”; “you cannot dance and you are not the queen of this party, it’s time to go home.”)

Ab Fab – What will you drink if you stop drinking. Post continues below video. 

Video by BBC

As well as being a Sunday-saver for people like me, these devices can be useful for law enforcement and hospitals by providing information on the exact BAC of the individual in question. Where results from breathalysers can be affected by other factors such as humidity, the tattoo system is highly accurate and the results can be sent to any Bluetooth device. Gulp.

It can also be preventative. Exact measurements landing on your iPhone can go a long way in dispelling the ‘grey area’ around the amount of drinks that send you over the driving limit. You’re either too intoxicated to drive, or you’re BAC is still under 0.05%.

“It provides an accurate, convenient, and quick way to monitor alcohol consumption to help prevent people from driving while intoxicated,” Jayoung Kim, a graduate student who was involved in the study, told Broadly.

Safer roads. Less work for law enforcement and health workers. Better Sundays for people like me. And I get a temporary tattoo in the process. What’s not to like?