FLOOME, a universal smartphone accessory that provides users with accurate and reliable blood-alcohol readings has joined the ranks of some of the most promising hardware innovations as a Proto Labs (NYSE:PRLB) Cool Idea! Award recipient.
Proto Labs launched the Cool Idea! Award in 2011, which gives a total of $250,000 each year to entrepreneurs developing new products in the United States and Europe. Unlike other product awards that recognize products after they’re in mass production and on store shelves, the Cool Idea! Award is meant to help cool ideas come to life. Proto Labs provided the FLOOME’s co-founders, Marco Barbetta and Fabio Penzo of Italian company 2045Tech, with tooling and a subsequent first production run of injection molded parts.
“FLOOME is the first, reliable smartphone breathalyzer,” says Barbetta. By blowing into the device while it is connected to a smartphone audio jack, the users Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is measured. FLOOME employs a patent-pending technology that matches a vortex whistle with the fuel cell ethanol sensor that is widely used by law enforcement breathalyzers. The collected data is sent over audio frequencies to the corresponding app where the user can view their BAC, get an estimate of when they will reach the legal limit to drive based on their test results and body characteristics, set an alarm to take a new test, view a graph of previous results, or call a nearby taxi.
For 2045Tech, the casing design for FLOOME was as important to its overall functionality as the technology inside it. “After many sketches and prototypes, we came up with a really unique, eye-catching shape; its smooth edges and lightness also make it easy to carry around,” says Barbetta.
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