In this NIH SBIR Phase II project, Arborsense will continue to develop a discreet standalone graphene nanoelectronic transdermal alcohol sensor with integrated electronics to collect sweat alcohol readings continuously and in real-time and transmit it to a mobile app. Excessive alcohol consumption is the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the US. It led to around 88,000 deaths per year in the US from 2006-2010 and in 2006 alone cost the economy around $224 billion. Arborsense?s wearable alcohol monitoring device will lead to a better awareness about alcohol consumption amongst general population and will enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability. Arborsense received an NSF Phase I SBIR grant (NSF: IIP-1548317) in January 2016 with which we achieved the stated Phase I goals and milestones of: (1) fabrication and assembly of graphene alcohol sensors on a flexible polymer backing; (2) the graphene sensor capability in detecting alcohol in sweat and calibration of sensors? alcohol detection responsivity; and (3) test sensors? feasibility and reliability on human volunteers, benchmarking against breathalyzer readings. Based on these results, in this NIH Phase II project Arborsense aims to achieve standalone sensor modules which are accurate (range?0.02% BAC), discreet (watch/wrist-band), light (~100g), cost-effective (~$100), and hands-free (Bluetooth connectivity). The modules will have integrated self-calibration electronics and Bluetooth transceiver to transmit data wirelessly to a mobile or tablet. In Phase II, Arborsense will collaborate with the University of Michigan to develop, test, calibrate, and benchmark sensor modules with the stated performance metrics. The graphene sensors will be fabricated on flexible polymer substrate, encapsulated with protective membranes, stacked with electronic circuity and a rechargeable battery, and enclosed in a discreet housing. The modules will first be calibrated in extensive performance tests in lab, and then tested on human volunteers while being benchmarked with a police grade breathalyzer. Good correlation between our sensor and breathalyzer will confirm the technical and commercial feasibility of our sensors, which can then be shipped to early-adopters, pitched to investors, and ultimately introduced for sales. We will also develop an interactive phone app and study ways of providing information to users about intoxication to maximize the benefits of self-monitoring.

Public Health Relevance

Excessive alcohol consumption is a health risk behavior and the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the United States. The proposed project will develop a wearable alcohol nanobiosensor that continuously monitors transdermal alcohol vapors to estimate blood alcohol content. The proposed device addresses the unmet need for a small, light, unobtrusive, non-invasive, convenient-to-use real-time sensor for self-monitoring of alcohol consumption.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR) - Phase II (R44)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
Program Officer
Dunty, Jr, William
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Arborsense, Inc.
Ann Arbor
United States
Zip Code