Two students from Lancaster demonstrated a blood alcohol content detection wristband at the fifth annual White House Science Fair.
Jonathan Hernandez, 17, and Fanta Sinayoko, 18, represented SOAR High School’s Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam that conceived the wristband, which is designed to be an appealing option for young adults who wish to drink responsibly.
The user blows onto a miniature sensor in the wristband, with the presence of ethanol triggering an analog voltage charge that is converted into a light-emitting diode reaction. Green indicates the user’s blood alcohol content is below the legal limit and he or she is safe to drive, while red indicates the user’s BAC is above the legal limit.
The wristband is one-eighth the size of traditional breathalyzer technologies and will cost $20 when it reaches the market, about 13 percent of the price of comparable breathalyzers, according to information provided by the White House.
The team is working to file a utility patent. At least one company has expressed interest in a licensing agreement, according to the White House.
Sinayoko now attends UC Riverside.
SOAR High School — an acronym for Students on the Academic Rise — is a specialized high school on the Antelope Valley College campus and part of the Antelope Valley Joint Union High School District. It integrates college courses into the high school curriculum and emphasizes mathematics, science and engineering.
Students are eligible to participate in Antelope Valley College activities, including clubs and performing and fine arts. Graduates receive a high school diploma and a college associate’s degree within five years.
President Barack Obama viewed 12 of the fair’s exhibits in the State Dining Room — but not the blood alcohol content detection wristband — and addressed participants in the East Room.
“This is our fifth White House Science Fair,” Obama said. “Every year, I walk out smarter than I walked in because these young people have something to teach all of us, not just about batteries or attacking cancer cells or how to build a working robot or a rocket.
“These young scientists and engineers teach us something beyond the specific topics that they’re exploring. They teach us how to question assumptions, to wonder why something is the way it is and how we can make it better.
“And they remind us that there’s always something more to learn and to try and to discover and to imagine that it’s never too early or too late to create something new.”
—City News Service
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