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Can An App Tell You If You Have Had One Too Many?

drunk app

Let’s face it, there are more Apps available today than you can shake a stick at. While some are not worth the effort of download there are undoubtedly some of tremendous value.

When it comes to alcohol and how much you have consumed, developments for an app to help you understand when it is time to pass on that next round could well be just around the corner.


The concept is based around intervention strategy using smartphones and are aimed at helping to curb those excessive drinking sessions.

It consists of a software program that recognizes when a person is out drinking, and is programmed to send customized messages to support and remind a person of their set intentions before a session begins.

It could also provide timely reminders as to what transportation options are available for getting home safely.

How does it work?

Data from a person’s smartphone would need to be monitored, then utilizing computer learning a predictive model of when a drinking session is likely to happen would be put into place. The app is then built and programmed to intervene electronically based on the data obtained.

 Features that act as identifiers:

During trials, the researchers involved gathered 20 features that could be identified with phone sensors to create the predictive model.

Indicators this model uses were such things as the time and days of the week with major focus on evenings and weekends as these are times that a person is more likely to be drinking.

Other innovative indicators included were the amount and length of outgoing calls made as well as focusing on text messages using such parameters as errors, deletions and the number of times emoticons were used in these messages.

Interesting reactions:

The phone sensor features showed some interesting behavior. Here are 4:

  • Speed of keypress – This was slower when the user was drinking.
  • Errors made – More errors in phone use were made when the user was drinking.
  • Length of outgoing calls – These calls were longer when the user was drinking.
  • Changes in phone ‘activity’ – These changes occurred more often when the user was drinking.

The goal of the app:

The idea behind the app is to help a person to predict when a drinking session will happen and then to get messages and reminders to them to allow them to make better, more informed decisions.

Examples being not to consider driving, reminders to book a taxi, sending supportive messages and alerts as to the time, and when they should be heading safely home.

Even auto-text to a trusted person to alert them as to how long they have been out and where they are. This in turn could produce a call back by that person to ensure the drinker is safe.

Do e-intervention apps work?

The jury is certainly still out on this one. While they may be able to alert a person that they have spent a long time out drinking, or that they should not drive and that a taxi should be booked for a certain time will only be effective if the user takes notice and responds to such warnings and reminders.

But, as with anything that can help reduce drink-related problems these apps have surely got to be worth investigating and developing.

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