Believe it or not, breathalyzers can do more than detect how intoxicated a person is. With a bit of tweaking, the same technology police use when pulling over suspected drunk drivers can also detect other health issues.
More specifically, dehydration and oral health issues, which is precisely what a new device called MINT can do.
Most breathalyzers require users to blow for long periods of time to ensure that the air is being drawn from the lungs. The MINT, however, specifically looks at the humidity and Volatile Sulfur Compounds (VSCs) in the user’s breath, using a small fan that draws air from the mouth, which means a user doesn’t even have to blow like they would into a police officer’s breathalyzer.
After taking a quick sample, MINT then sends the results to the user’s smartphone, which is connected via Bluetooth. They can see their measured level of hydration, and the levels of hydrogen disulfide, methyl mercaptan, and hydrogen sulfide in their breath — in layman’s terms, just how fresh their breath is.
“The intersection of Technology and Health will be (and is) one of the great digital innovation areas of this decade. However the category’s attractiveness brings about a lot of useless and “me too” innovation,” says Tom Ajello, Co-Founder of Makeable. “There was a predecessor to Mint called Breeze. It only measured alcohol level, but It did not sell well. Often smartphone driven devices like this sound new, and interesting but their use cases are very impractical. I suspect that would be the case here.”
Though there are other breathalyzers built to check the freshness of a user’s breath, they’re more of a novelty device, and are hardly accurate. The MINT, on the other hand, is powerful enough to spot even more serious oral issues, like tooth decay or gum disease.
Unfortunately, eager consumers will have to wait around the end of summer to see just how big of a sweat they worked up in their latest gym session, or police their coworkers’ breath. The MINT will be available sometime near August for about $99, when the final production version is ready.